Safe at Home Winter Notes

Greetings from your Safe at Home Committee.

Each month our Committee will offer something of interest, value, to help our seniors remain safe at home in beautiful Hillsdale.

January 2019

January is cold – no doubt about that. It’s just what we expect in Hillsdale. As an older adult one can lose body heat fast and according to the National Institute on Aging faster than when you are young.

“ Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder for you to be aware of getting cold. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person even knows what’s happening. Doctors call this serious problem hypothermia. Hypothermia is what happens when your body temperature gets very low. Being outside in the cold, or even being in a very cold house can lead to hypothermia.”

Here are some tips from the National Institute on Aging or staying warm inside and lowering your chance of hypothermia.

*Set your heat to at least 68–70°F. To save on heating bills, close off rooms you are not using; close vents and shut doors in these rooms, and keep the basement door closed. Place a rolled towel in front of all doors to keep out drafts.

*Make sure your house isn’t losing heat through windows. Keep your blinds and curtains closed. If you have gaps around the windows, try weather stripping or caulk to keep the cold air out.

*Dress warmly on cold days even if you are staying in the house. Wear socks and slippers.

*When you go to sleep, wear long underwear under your pajamas, and use extra covers. Wear a cap or hat.

*Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don’t eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.

*You may be tempted to warm your room with a space heater. But, some space heaters are fire hazards, and others can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has information on the use of space heaters.

* Most important: Ask family or friends and neighbors to check on you during cold weather.


You can apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) a government program for low -income homeowners or renters.   HEAP will assist eligible persons with help paying for utility and heating bills. Applications are at our Town Hall and you can call Columbia County Office for the Aging 518-828-4258 for assistance.

If you are eligible for HEAP you may also be eligible for the Columbia Opportunities Inc. Weatherization Program.  COI provides energy audits to eligible homeowners and renters to find the best way to make their homes more energy efficient.  Weatherization measures – such as furnace repair or replacement, wall and attic insulation, air sealing, energy efficient refrigerators – are installed to make residences safe, comfortable and less expensive to heat.  Most people see a 20% reduction in their home heating bills after the weatherization work is done!  Please call 518-8282-4611 or 518-672-7268 for more information and an application.

February 2019

As we age, most of us want to enjoy independent lives in our own homes and surroundings for as long as it is safely possible to do so. With this goal in mind, the newly formed HILLSDALE SAFE AT HOME COMMITTEE has partnered with the Columbia County Office for the Aging on a variety of initiatives, including the mailing last fall of a helpful brochure to all Hillsdale residents describing services available to our seniors. According to   enthusiastic responses received, it was viewed as an important way to “get the word out” about ways we can successfully lead our lives at home in our senior years.

As well, the Office for the Aging publishes a quarterly newsletter, THE ELDER EXPRESS, that provides regular updates of services available, as well as articles of interest to seniors. The January-March 2019 issue, for example, calls attention to transportation services available to seniors for shopping, banking, pharmacies, meal site locations and other needs. Those requesting this service may call 1-518-567-3677. For medical appointments, however, the number to call is 1-518-822-8020. Other articles in this issue make us aware of scams targeting seniors, assistance with tax preparation, senior discounts, meal centers, home energy assistance, and a call for volunteers. If you would like to receive this newsletter, please contact the Columbia County Office for the Aging, 325 Columbia Street, Suite 231, Hudson, NY 12534.

Please stay tuned for a MEET AND GREET YOUR SAFE AT HOME COMMITTEE this spring, followed by a SENIOR FAIR/WORKSHOP, scheduled for fall. Announcements for these important informational events will be made through the Town Newsletter and other means.