How to keep your elderly loved one safe during holiday gatherings
As the end of 2022 approaches, many families have begun to plan for the holiday season. In planning for gatherings, dinners and special events, it can be simple to account for every family member’s needs by making a few special accommodations to ensure everyone is comfortable.
As you begin to think about menus, locations and other details that will create lasting holiday memories for the entire family, here are some tips that will support aging loved ones who might need a little assistance with mobility, diets and other health concerns.
Depending on who hosts this season’s big holiday feast, it is important to examine the home’s walking surfaces. Be on the lookout for slippery floors and trickier walkways that might be difficult for a person with limited mobility to easily move around. Rearrange loose rugs so they are away from common walk paths; secure any awkward carpeting or floor dividers that can get in the way, widen space between furniture to allow more room to roam and make sure the bathrooms are equipped with slip-resistant mats and if necessary, install grab bars.
Declutter the common areas as much as possible. Temporarily shelve or relocate unneeded items, like side tables, smaller ottomans, pet beds and throws and blankets.
With a little prep work around the house, older individuals will have full confidence as they move about the house, with nothing to worry about besides mingling with family members and enjoying their time.
Chances are that guests will be over for holiday gatherings that start or end when it’s dark out. Don’t let it get too dark inside. Proper and enhanced lighting in gathering areas, bathrooms, hallways, the kitchen and sleeping areas is a must and can help prevent falls and injuries. It can also contribute to good mental health.
Scented candles and other decorative lighting may not produce sufficient illumination, no matter much they add to the holiday atmosphere. Instead, go for something brighter that accentuates common indoor and outdoor walk areas with a flood of light. This lets everyone get around safely and with ease. Dim ambient lighting such as the glow of the fireplace is a great mood setter. However, relying solely on this type of light can lead to accidents and unexpected falls.
It’s always best to play it safe by providing adequate light to help your loved one get around safely.
One of the treasured aspects of holiday gatherings is that everyone can get in on the cooking fun. If your aging loved one enjoys time in the kitchen, it will be important to prep the kitchen in a way that promotes safety while welcoming their helping hand and cooking expertise. Start by assigning them less risky cooking tasks in a seated position in plain sight so you can chat and easily check in if they need some help. They’ll have fun prepping food, measuring ingredients and being of general assistance. As your sous-chef finds their way around the kitchen, don’t forget to ask them about their food preferences and see if you can incorporate healthier ingredients they enjoy the most.
As a rule of thumb, keep your aging parents or grandparents away from hot surfaces and spill-prone areas of the kitchen to ensure their safety and enjoyment during this special bonding time.
The holidays are a busy time of the year with a lot of activity for anybody. As you plan details for upcoming gatherings, be mindful that loud noises or sounds can induce anxiety and overwhelm your older guests. If, for example, you’re loved one is battling hearing loss, background noises can be enhanced with hearing devices. A room full of sounds (music, loud chitchatting and children playing) can pose a challenge to individuals who rely on these devices. The amplification of unneeded sounds in their ears can be stressful and take away from full enjoyment. For this reason, create a special area within the home where your older family members can congregate and participate at a pace that betters suits their comfort zone. Loop family members in for their awareness and assistance in creating a cozy and welcoming family environment for everyone during the holidays.
At Cherished Companions, our caregivers make health and safety a top priority and are always watching out for our residents. For further questions, to request resources or to inquire about having your loved one utilize our services, contact Cherished Companions today on our website or call (440) 484-5390.