The holidays are a time for joy and celebration, but you may also need to be cautious about an aging loved one. There are many dangers for seniors during the holiday season, so a few safety tips should be implemented to keep your aging family member safe. Family caregivers in particular should pay close attention to fall hazards or potential dangers that could threaten their senior loved one’s safety and health at a family gathering.
To be aware of the dangers during the holidays and keep your senior loved ones safe, read the following tips:
Holiday Fire Hazards
Holiday decorations are often flammable because they contain tissue paper and other combustible materials. You should avoid using these decorations if possible and if not, try to keep them away from candles, fireplace, or other things that could easily set them aflame.
Christmas trees often the center of attention during the holidays, but they can also be a potential fire hazard. Real trees have a much higher risk of catching on fire than artificial trees do because of ornaments and easily breakable needles. Artificial trees are much safer, but if you do want a real tree, get one with green needles that are difficult to break. Keep trees, both real and artificial, should be kept away from fireplaces, candles, vents, and radiators.
You should create an emergency fire plan or update an existing one for the holiday season. It is important to have a smoke detector installed in every room of your house and at least one fire extinguisher. Make sure every family member knows the plan of action during an emergency to prevent injury.
1. Secure Floor Rugs and Arrangements
Be mindful of floor arrangements and rugs because they may be a potential falling hazard for your elderly loved ones. Unsecure rugs or rugs concealing electrical cords can cause your loved one to fall, especially if they use a cane or walker. Elaborate floor arrangements for the holidays are also dangerous and could impede your loved one’s ability to walk.
To avoid falls and injuries, secure floor rugs so they cannot be tripped over or remove them completely, especially throw rugs and rugs that are not skid-proof. Put floor arrangements off to the side or in a place in the home that is not frequently traveled.
Much like removing floor arrangements, you should also remove any clutter that can cause falls. Toys, decorations, and other clutter need to be removed from hallways or pathways for fall prevention.
2. Keep Rooms Well-Lit
Fireplaces and Christmas lights are often used as light sources because people enjoy the dim glow for the holidays. However, try to limit the use of dim lighting because it can lead to falls and injuries. A dark, shadowy home can cause your aging loved one to become disoriented and misgauge distances.
3. Stay Safe While Cooking
Cooking is a great holiday activity for adults, but some seniors can no longer cook safely. However, this doesn’t mean they can no longer participate in this fun activity. Keep cooking safe by giving your senior family member safer tasks like stirring, sorting, and measuring ingredients. Encourage them to sit while doing cooking activities to prevent falls in the kitchen.
Be sure to cut and chop ingredients yourself so your loved one doesn’t cut themselves. Move hot items between surfaces yourself as well to promote senior safety.
The holidays are a special time of year for families and the best way to keep it enjoyable and fun is to implement home safety for seniors. If you believe your loved one could benefit from a caregiver to protect them from falls and provide senior care every day, call Assisting Hands Home Care at (630) 332-2203 for more information.