Christmas: Holiday Safety Tips for Seniors and Caregivers

Senior couple with gifts in front of Christmas treeChristmas time is a time for celebration, family and joy. But, if you have an aging senior in your family then you may need to be a bit extra cautious during this holiday season. For seniors there are several dangers that can be found in the decorations and on the day of your family get together. A number of holiday safety issues should be considered whether your loved one lives alone or with a caregiver. While the holiday season should be a time for celebration, it should also be a time when family caregivers are on high alert for their loved ones health and safety. Family caregivers should be on the lookout for potential dangers or fall hazards that could be potentially dangerous to seniors. To stay aware this holiday season and to keep your elderly loved ones safe, read over the following tips.

Fire Hazards

Many holiday decorating ideas involve very combustible materials such as tissue paper and flammable cottons. These materials should be avoided in your home and in your elderly loved one’s home. If they cannot be avoided, then you should keep these materials away from bare electrical wires, fireplaces, or candles so that they do not become ignited easily. You also should buy artificial trees that are labeled as “fire resistant” and avoid real trees if possible. Real trees are at a higher risk of catching fire than artificial trees and should be avoided if you are worried about fire. In order to be prepared, you also should have an emergency fire plan in place for your and your elderly loved ones home. Having a smoke detector in each room of your home can be one of the best measures to prevent being hurt in a house fire. After this, you must also have a plan of action. Make sure everyone who will be in your home over the holiday season knows where to meet and what to do if there is a fire. Also, make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher in your home to combat small house fires.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are the centerpiece of many Christmas events. They hold decorative and nostalgic ornaments that bring joy and happiness to your family. However, Christmas trees may also bring danger to your household. Real Christmas trees are at risk of catching fire far more easily than artificial trees. If you do get a real Christmas tree then make sure that you choose a live tree that has green needles that do not break easily. The tree should also be sticky with resin and only have a few loose needles. Real trees and artificial trees should be kept away from vents, radiators, fireplaces, and candles. If you have a real tree, you should also keep its stand full with water. Plus, for both types of trees you should only use flame-resistant ornaments.

Electrical Safety

Christmas decorations often light up or have an electrical component. This means that you will have extra electrical cords strung out over your home that could be fall and trip hazards for your elderly loved ones. Your Christmas lights could also be a fire risk. Do not skimp on the quality of your Christmas lights and lit decorations. Some lower quality lights may cause electrical shortages which lead to electrical fires. Christmas decorations and lights also should be in areas where there are adequate outlets. Do not string extension cords across your floor or hide them under rugs. The extension cords could cause problems for your loved ones if they shuffle their feet or if they use a walker or a cane. Instead, look for battery operated Christmas decorations and keep your tree near an outlet so it can be easily lit.

Things to Watch For Indoors and Outdoors

Decorating for the holiday season is a time of joy that can really make your home look festive. However, holiday decorations may be a hazard to your loved one’s health. Here is a list of things you may need to watch out for indoors and outdoors.

Floor Arrangements

Some people set up elaborate floor arrangements in their home for Christmas. If you set up Christmas decorations on the floor this holiday season then make sure they are out of the way and in a place of your home that is not travelled often. Floor decorations may impede your elderly loved ones’ walkers or canes. They may also impede their ability to walk and may increase their chances of falling.

Floor Rugs

Floor rugs can be decorative and concealing. They can conceal electrical cords and can cause your loved ones to trip and fall. Floor rugs may impede your loved ones’ ability to walk clearly with a walker or with a cane. Plus, if they are concealing electrical cords, then they may be filled with bumps that could cause your loved ones to trip and fall.

Outdoor Electrical Outlets and Pathways

When decorating outdoors, it is essential that extension cords for outside lights and yard displays be tucked safety away near the base of your home. The cords should not cross walkways if possible and they should stay flat against the side of your home at all times. You should also keep your walkways completely clear. In the event that walkways, patios, or your driveway becomes snowy and icy, it is vital that you clear the ice and snow away quickly for safety purposes.

Christmas time is a time to celebrate with your family, friends and loved ones. Christmas is a time to feel nostalgic and to make new memories with your family. A safe Christmas can be fun and fabulous. Simply follow these tips and you can make sure that all of your loved ones will stay healthy and injury free during the holidays. These tips can help you decorate your home with a sense of safety and a sense of style. You do not have to put away your favorite Christmas decorations and make your home look bleak during the holidays. Instead, think about your loved ones’ safety and their health. Try to minimize their risk for falls and minimize the risk of fires in order to keep your and their holiday safe and filled with fun.

For some additional safety tips, check these articles in our home care blog: