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How to Keep Older Relatives Safe During Holiday Visits

Regional Christmas and new year at home with Family celebrating togetherDuring the holidays, people young and old get together to celebrate. If you have older relatives coming to your home, you may want to take some precautions to keep them from falling. Falls are the number one cause of disability in people over 65, causing loss of independence and often serious complications. Preventing a fall may be the best holiday gift you give.

To keep your loved ones safe, you should:

Watch Light Cords

Holiday lights both inside and outside the house can lead to snaking cords across walkways. Always ensure light cords from trees, lamps or other items are tucked back and out of the way.

Don’t Decorate Too Much

Decorations on every surface can end up getting in the way and make it harder to navigate. You want to make sure that there are easy walkways around furniture in every room. You may even need to remove a few pieces of furniture like side tables if you have a lot of guests coming. This can free up more space for walking and mingling while improving safety.

Salt Your Sidewalks

This holiday season has already been a cold one. For the sake of all your guests, always salt and clear your sidewalks before they arrive. Icy surfaces are a huge fall risk, particularly if your guests need to go up the stairs.

Make it Merry and Bright

Older relatives may have a hard time seeing in a dim room. While a cozy room lit by a tree and fireplace may put you in the holiday spirit, a trip to the emergency room will turn you into a Grinch. Go ahead and light up all rooms, especially walkways, to ensure that they can see where they are going and avoid any obstacles.

Get the Kids Involved

If children are going to be in the house, stress to them that they need to clean up new toys and presents that could trip up their relatives. You can also ask them to help you clean up wrapping paper, tissue paper and ribbons that can hide tripping hazards.

Prepare for Overnight Guests

If your older relatives are staying in your home overnight, you’ll also need to take some extra steps to make them safe.

  • If possible, put them in a room on the first floor so they won’t need to climb stairs.
  • Add non-slip mats to the bathroom, including in the shower or bathtub.
  • Consider renting a wheelchair ramp for the entrance to your home.
  • Consider a shower chair to make it safer for them.

By following these tips, your family can have a happy and safe holiday. For more information on fall prevention, please contact Bon Secours In Motion. Our physical therapists provide home fall risk assessments, specialized balance testing and personalized exercise programs to help reduce the risk of falls and keep seniors safe.