Sunday, March 23, 2008

Let's Talk About the Weather

February 11th, 2008

Kelso House Adult Foster Care is in Northern Michigan, and this time of year can bring some pretty extreme weather conditions to our area. For example, the past two days saw temperatures around -20 degrees Fahrenheit — NOT counting the wind chill. And it WAS windy.

To add to these conditions, the electric power was knocked out for about 2 hours last night. This was right during dinner, so out come the candles. Northern Michigan Adult Foster Care Tip Number One: keep plenty of candles around. Know where a working flashlight is, and know where to find matches or a lighter for just such emergencies.

We have a gas furnace - but, it needs electricity for the thermostat to even kick the furnace on. We finished our dinner by candlelight, then all stayed in one room and wrapped up for the duration. Northern Michgan Adult Foster Care Tip Number Two: have plenty of extra blankets on hand - comforters and feather beds are the best.

Ailie and my wife curled up on the large sofa together with two large blankets over them to stay good and warm, and I got under the feather bed on a smaller sofa and read a book by candlelight.

Kelso House Adult Foster Care is well-insulated and the heat conserved well. It has crossed my mind a few times to have a back up generator. This is not a bad idea. On the other hand, we have been here for over 8 years now, and the electricity has never been out for more than a few hours. This time was no exception. Ailie had actually fallen asleep, when the lights popped back on and the smoke alarms started beeping around 9 pm and roused us all.

Even when the electricity is fully operational, keeping elderly clients warm in rough winter weather is of primary concern. A blanket is kept over them at all times - even while watching television on the cushy sofa. At night, the temperature always drops a little more, and keeping our clients warm in bed is very important. Northern Michigan Adult Foster Care Tip Number Three: Ailie’s bed is equipped with a heated mattress pad, which we keep at a low heat during the night, and she reports that this keeps her very warm and cozy.

Remember that your clients may not always voice their needs to you. You must always be thinking of their needs and asking them if they need such things as blankets while they are sitting on the sofa, for instance. Better yet - just bring it to them, and they will most likely use it once they see it in front of them.

In Northern Michigan, just when you think winter is letting up - that’s when it always can catch you off guard. Be prepared - stock up on batteries - know where to find flashlights and lighters and matches. Keep heavy blanket and comforters handy. And always try to anticipate your aged clients’ needs before they need to ask.

Hoping the rest of YOUR winter is safe and warm,

Kelso House - a Northern Michigan Adult Foster Care Home for the Aged.

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