Holiday Fire Safety for Seniors Aging in Place

The homecare providers at Avila Home Care suggest methods for ensuring that your home remains safe from fire damage during the holidays.

The holiday season is a special time of year. Particularly for seniors whose families live far away, the holidays are a joyful occasion when everyone gets to spend time together, share stories and create new memories. But the holidays also often involve the introduction of season decorations and activities that may present safety hazards for seniors aging in place.

To ensure that your home is fire safe during the holiday season, consider the following:

Don’t…

  • Use flammable décor. If possible, avoid using decorations that can easily catch on fire such as paper, wood, tinsel and tissue paper.
  • Use the fireplace as your main source of heat. Avoid frequent lighting of the fireplace if possible, and keep the area around the fireplace clear of flammable materials.
  • Drape string lights or electrical cords across pathways. Not only will they create a fall hazard if they are exposed, but these decorations can impede wheelchair and walker access even when concealed under a rug.
  • Stage large floor arrangements, particularly if space is limited. Floor arrangements make walkable pathways narrower and create tripping hazards.

Do…

  • Buy a fire-resistant artificial tree, or a real tree that is sticky with sap and has only green needles. Young trees are less flammable than trees with dead or dying branches.
  • Keep your tree stand full of water.
  • Invest in high quality lights and decorations. Low quality electrical decorations are more likely to short and present fire hazards.
  • Ensure that fire detectors are installed in every room, and that a fire extinguisher is on hand in case of emergencies.
  • Create an emergency fire escape plan that is posted in a common area so that loved ones and friends might take note of its instructions.
  • Keep a close watch on kitchen appliances. Family and friends can become distracting, causing you to forget a heated oven, toaster or stovetop.

As you decorate and prepare for the holidays, be sure to take stock of the additions to your home. Make sure that your pathways are not blocked, and that you are still easily able to traverse your house. Ask your caregiver for their opinion as well to ensure that they feel the house is sufficiently safe from fire hazards.

For more information on how to ensure your home remains a safe and healthy place through the holiday season, contact the homecare providers at Avila Home Care today.

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