People of all ages anticipate the holidays, when merriments fill the atmosphere and togetherness is cherished. Family members who expect elderly parents to pay a welcome visit during this festive time of year are tasked with preparing for their arrival and safe stay.
Aging parents have increasingly specialized care needs. Perhaps dementia has set in, affecting these individuals’ cognitive functions. Or, physical impairments, such as arthritis, can severely weaken seniors’ use of their legs or hands. Employ safety measures to ensure their well-being during the holidays.
1. Safety Tips for Decorations
The decorated tree is often the focal point in the holiday home. Priceless ornaments hang, and dazzling strings of light add brilliant visuals. Depending on the extent of any illnesses they may have, seniors will experience varied reactions to vivid holiday decorations.
For some seniors who suffer from dementia, round ornaments might resemble food. Gingerbread men and other faux food ornaments might encourage Mom or Dad to take a bite. Prevent choking hazards by placing these ornaments high in the tree, where seniors are less likely to reach.
Seniors living with dementia are also likely to be frightened by the oversized, inflated snowmen or reindeer decorations swaying on the front lawn. Rather than risk alarming the senior parent with animated décor, choose lawn decorations that are more natural.
2. Safety Tips for Floors
The gift-giving season is chockfull of wrapped boxes, large, and small. Unwrapped presents and rolls of gift wrap are randomly scattered across the floors and tables. Extension cords necessary to power the colorful strands of light are littered across commonly used pathways.
Clutter on the floors is dangerous for seniors, especially for those with mobility issues. Gait problems can force a senior to shuffle his feet when walking or use a walker for additional support and stability. The flooring should be properly safeguarded to prevent tripping hazards.
Tape extension cords to the floor so that the elderly individuals do not trip over them. Reduce chances of slipping by removing any throw rugs that lack a secure backing or that fail to be skid proof. Remove toys on the floor to protect seniors with limited vision.
3. Safety Tips for Cooking
Mom or Dad may have once stirred up gastronomic feasts in the kitchen. Although an aging parent may no longer be head chef, the senior can still lend a helping hand in the kitchen. Cooking tasks older folks may be more suited to handle are ones that are risk-free.
Mom might measure dry ingredients when baking. When the holiday cookies come out of the oven, rather than allow her to handle the piping hot baking sheet, assign her the important job of arranging the cooled cookies on a platter. Seniors’ cooking activities are safely done while seated.
4. Safety Tips for Lighting
When parents stay overnight, prepare the bathrooms and bedrooms for safe usage. Nightlights are an extra source of light and serve to sufficiently light darkened hallways leading to the bathroom or areas next to the senior’s bed. Extra lighting helps to prevents falls so seniors can safely circumvent them.
Colorful garlands of blinking lights add joyful ambiance to the holiday season. To seniors with dementia, however, these distracting lights can easily disorient them. Accommodate aging parents by replacing the flashing illuminations with bulbs that radiate steady streams of light.
Candles may still be lit during the festivities—if done with care. Due to a decreased lack of judgment, seniors living with dementia may no longer recognize the inherent dangers lit candles pose. As an alternative, switch to battery-operated candles after a lighting ceremony with real candles.
5. Safety Tips for Noise
Animated conversations, random noises, and the constant chatter of merry get togethers may be overwhelming for some seniors. Elderly individuals with dementia are prone to agitation and confusion when in the midst of lively environments. Set aside a quiet space to which the senior may retreat.
Celebrations are rife with loud music and conversations. Seniors who wear hearing aids may be subject to anxiety, especially since these devices can heighten background noise. As a result, the elderly parent may wander away. Ease anxiety and promote enjoyment by creating an intimate gathering place further from the crowd.
6. Safety Tips for Seating
The festive dining table offers a wealth of opportunities to engage and enjoy an extravagant holiday meal. Make dining at the table convenient for aging parents by ensuring the chairs have firm footing and facilitate easy entering and exiting. Allow extra clearance around the seniors’ chairs.
In efforts to make ample room for the magnificent holiday tree, furniture may have been shifted. When elderly parents visit, make sure the sofas and coffee tables are positioned so that all senior guests are able to walk freely around them.
7. Safety Tips for Guests
Multiple generations arrive at holiday celebrations. When very young children are expected at the festivities, create a safe zone where they may play with toys. This out-of-the-way area keeps seniors from tripping over haphazardly thrown toys or losing their balance trying to avoid running kids.
The holidays spark sharing and caring, especially from compassionate caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care. With a team of in-home caregivers ready to provide daily support or respite care, we are prepared to help your senior loved one enjoy the holiday season.
Home care services from Assisting Hands Home Care include help with the activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing. We’ll get your loved one ready for the holiday party. We also assist seniors with mobility issues, providing fall prevention to prevent the risk of injury; our caregivers are skilled in guiding seniors through the home and into and out of bed.
Additional senior care services include transportation. Professional caregivers will safely drive care recipients to the family home where the holiday celebrations are held. Meal preparation and companionship are also included in our comprehensive list of elder care services.
Families and their aging parents turn to Assisting Hands Home Care, especially during the holidays. Our senior care services are dependable, ensuring our care recipients are well taken care of every day of the year.