It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Let’s keep it that way by helping senior citizens stay safe this holiday season.
Between parties, dinners, festivals, shows, and parades, the holiday season offers many opportunities to gather with friends and family to celebrate. If you live in Florida, take a trip to Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Miami, or attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in Orlando. Young, old, and in between, there are plenty of festivities happening this time of year for people of all ages.
The holidays can be a great chance to spend time with your elderly loved ones, as well. But with all the commotion of holiday celebrations comes the added risk of injuries and accidents for seniors.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent these incidents from occurring. Follow these 8 holiday safety tips for seniors so everyone can enjoy the holiday celebrations safely.
1. Remove excess decorations and clutter from the floor.
Decorations are often a beloved part of the holiday season. However, too many decorations on the floor can pose a threat to seniors’ mobility in the home and lead to falls. According to Dr. Chris Cornett of Nebraska Medicine, more falls occur around the holidays when seniors are out of their own homes and in unfamiliar settings.
Because of this risk, it is best to remove any decorations, such as lights, trinkets, presents, lengthy Christmas tree skirts, and other accessories from the floor. Instead, you can safely place decorations on a shelf or mantel.
Also, if you are hosting a gathering, be mindful of where gifts, shoes and jackets are placed. Seniors are much less likely to have a fall when the walkways in the home are clear of objects and clutter.
2. Keep extension cords out of the way.
Plenty of electricity is needed during the holidays to power decorations. This, of course, comes with the use of numerous extension cords. While sometimes necessary, these cords can be a serious tripping hazard for seniors when placed on the floor or in the walkways.
Keep your extension cords against the walls, or even better, off the ground. This may take some creativity and extra work, but the safety benefits for your senior loved ones are worth it.
3. Use battery-powered candles instead of real.
Holiday candles can evoke plenty of cozy, festive feelings. However, with open flames, candles also can be dangerous to seniors. Not only that, but they also must be blown out when unattended, making it difficult for some seniors to remember.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the 3 days of the year with the most candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. And more than a third of home decoration fires are caused by candles.
To prevent fire accidents, use flameless or battery-powered candles instead. The candle alternatives available today are so realistic you won’t even know the difference! Plus, no one needs to remember to blow them out, which is an added benefit.
4. Make sure there is ample lighting inside and outside the home.
Along with removing clutter, many senior falls can be prevented with sufficient lighting. If you are hosting seniors this holiday, make sure there is enough lighting in all areas of your home, including the walkways, stairwells, bathrooms, and kitchen. Doing so will help seniors see any potential tripping hazards in their path.
It is important to ensure there is ample lighting outside your home, too. All potentially hazardous areas outside, including steps and uneven paths, should be well illuminated. While not a problem for Florida seniors, ice can be a major hazard for aging people throughout the country this time of year. If you live outside of Florida and deal with snowy and icy conditions, make sure your outdoor area is properly salted and cleared before seniors arrive.
5. Avoid using step-stools or ladders when putting up decorations.
We all love festive holiday decorations inside and outside our homes. But, if you are a senior, it is best to stay away from ladders and step-stools when decorating. While handy, they can also be unstable and lead to a fall. Instead, opt to hang your decorations at a lower height within arm’s reach. If you really want to hang your decorations up high, enlist the help of a friendly younger neighbor or family member.
6. Arrange furniture so there is plenty of room to move around freely.
If you are hosting family and friends this holiday season, be mindful of your furniture placement. Crowded areas filled with people and furniture can lead to limited mobility and tripping hazards for seniors.
Instead, plan to move your furniture to the perimeter of the room, leaving space in the middle for seniors to move around safely.
7. Apply non-slip pads under rugs.
A tip for senior safety that applies year round is to place non-slip pads under all rugs in your home. This tip also applies for people who are hosting seniors for the holidays. Better yet, you can remove your rugs temporarily until your festivities are over. Rugs can be very hazardous for seniors, but are easy to fix to make your home safer for everyone during the holidays.
8. Keep young children and pets out of the way.
The holidays are a time for everyone to gather. This includes not just seniors but also every family member, such as children and pets. Most seniors love interacting with their young grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friendly animals. These interactions give seniors something to look forward to and bring them happiness.
To keep these connections safe and beneficial, create a dedicated area for children and pets to play and spend time with their older relatives. Opt to keep them out of the walkways and crowded rooms during gatherings.
Enjoy the holidays!
Many seniors look forward to the holiday season for the entire year. The holidays are a great chance for family and friends of all ages to connect and spend time together. With the right preparation and precautions in place, you can celebrate the holidays safely with your senior loved ones and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Want more tips?
Visit our website FloridaSeniorConsulting.com for more helpful information on senior safety.
The holidays are a great time to talk to the seniors in your life and assess if their needs are being met.
If you are looking for personalized assistance ensuring your senior loved ones live their best lives, contact us.
With years of experience, our expert senior advisors can help you find the safest, highest-quality living arrangements and care for your loved one.
Take the first step this holiday season. Call us at (941) 661-6196 and we will help your senior loved one get the care they deserve, every step of the way.