The holiday season is a time to enjoy the company of loved ones. As we decorate our homes for the festivities and the winter chill has arrived, there can be an increased risk of danger for older adults. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, seniors 65 and older are at a higher risk of suffering fire-related fatalities. The potential fire and slip hazards can put seniors in harm’s way during the holidays, so we’ve compiled some tips for your senior to stay safe.
- Check on seniors regularly. It is important to check up on your elderly loved ones often. If you cannot, have somebody like a neighbor or a nearby family member do it. You can also opt to hire an agency that can provide this type of caregiving service and ensure they are safe during any emergency.
- Keep your walkways and driveways clear of snow or ice to prevent slipping. If you need help, hire a professional landscape company that will be able to line walkways with sand and salt. Seniors can do this task if they plan carefully beforehand and take multiple breaks while they work.
- Ensure seniors have an emergency kit. Having the necessary supplies in an emergency can make all the difference. Seniors should have a kit that includes food, water, and other essentials like medicine or hygiene items if there is a power outage or they do not have access to emergency personnel. Stock the emergency kit with things that can last for at least three days.
- Assist your elderly loved ones in putting up holiday decorations, but don’t let them overexert themselves. Avoid clutter, which can increase the risk of tripping or falling. There should be plenty of room to walk in decorated areas. Fragile objects should be placed out of reach.
- Be cautious about extension cord placement. To avoid causing a tripping hazard, keep extension cords away from high-traffic areas. Do not place them under carpets, as this can cause a potential fire hazard.
- Use flameless electrical candles instead of real ones to eliminate the chances of a fire. Flame-resistance decorations, such as artificial Christmas trees coated in a flame-retardant substance, can help you avoid accidents.
- All locations in the home must be adequately lit, as dim holiday lighting can make it harder for seniors to see their way around furniture.
- If you have elderly guests, ensure that the light switches in guest bedrooms are accessible from the bed or a nearby chair. Having a night light between the guest bedroom and the bathroom might also be helpful.
- Position furniture, such as low coffee tables, in a way that makes it easier for people to move around.
- Ensure you have non-slip pads underneath your throw rugs to avoid slips and falls. If your bathroom or hallway floor is particularly slippery, remove the rugs for safety.
- When seniors visit your home, ensure young children play in a designated area. You may also consider keeping lively pets under control and supervised when an older guest is present.
With the spirit of giving in full swing, the holidays are a time for revelry and being around cherished friends and family. Staying safe should be a priority, especially for guests and family members of advanced years.