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Whether you’re the family caregiver to your parents or simply concerned about them living at home alone, take a day to make sure the fire risk in your parents’ home is as low as possible. Most families focus on having fire/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors that are working, but preventative maintenance should be your first step.

When Was Your Parents’ Dryer Vent Last Cleaned?

If possible, spend the $100 to $200 a professional dryer vent cleaning costs. The professional will clean all areas of the dryer where lint builds up and poses a fire risk. If your parents cannot afford it, get a chimney brush and clean the vent pipe out. Take time to make sure you get everything.

If the dryer hose is plastic or very worn flexible metal, replace it. A semi-rigid metal vent hose or solid metal pipe is safer. Use 90-degree metal elbows at the back of the dryer to prevent crimping when the dryer is replaced. Check all connections and make sure they’re secure. There are videos online that show you the best ways to clean the dryer vent.

Get the Heating System Cleaned and Inspected

A thorough cleaning of the heating system is important every year, but you need to make sure the cleaning includes a safety inspection. The HVAC person should take carbon monoxide readings to make sure there are no leaks. If anything is found, the issue can be corrected before your parents run their heating system.

If your parents use a wood stove, gas fireplace, or pellet stove, have that heating system cleaned and inspected, too. The chimney needs to be cleaned and inspected for cracks. If the liner were to fail in the middle of the winter, carbon monoxide could build up.

Purchase Fire Extinguishers

Purchase fire extinguishers and have them in the kitchen, garage, near the clothes dryer, and the heating system. If your parents have extinguishers, have them filled and inspected to make sure they will work properly if you need them.

Fire extinguishers are rated for different types of fires. In the kitchen, you want a fire extinguisher that’s designed for grease fires. In the basement or utility area, a fire extinguisher that’s rated for electrical panels is a good idea.

During the winter, make sure someone is checking on your parents from time to time. If you can’t do it because you live too far away, look into companionship services from a local senior care agency. Caregivers can help your parents with household chores. Transportation, help scheduling appointments, and medication reminders are a few other ways a senior care aide helps your parents age safely at home.

If you are considering senior care in Lonsdale, MN, for an aging loved one, contact Golden Heart Senior Care of Bloomington at (952) 226-4653. Our caring staff can answer your questions!