Having a Safe Holiday Experience with Elderly Loved Ones

The holidays are a time of fun and celebration, but there are some elements of the holidays that may be hazardous to elderly individuals. Here, the homecare professionals at Avila Home Care detail ways to have a safe holiday experience with elderly loved ones.

Socialize with Elderly Loved Ones at Their Pace

The holidays are about spending time with friends and family, which make them a great time to regularly socialize with elderly loved ones. The hustle and bustle of this time of year can be overwhelming for those with dementia, Alzheimer’s or anxiety—check up on them regularly to prevent emotional outbursts or wandering. Those who have been widowed may feel isolated and grief-stricken during holiday festivities, so ensure they have a strong support system surrounding them. Ask elderly loved ones how they are doing, and make sure they are socializing without overwhelming themselves.

Choose Safe Holiday Decorations

Holiday decorations are beautiful, but can be fire or tripping hazards. Help elderly loved ones put up decorations, or have a homecare provider assist them, to prevent unnecessary strain or injury. If a tree is put up, ensure it is a fireproof artificial one—if your loved one insists on a real tree, keep it well watered and remove dead needles or branches. Tree holders should be tightly secured to prevent the risk of the tree falling over. Check lights for frayed wiring and other fire concerns, and tape down cords to prevent falls. Refrain from using decorations made from glass, porcelain or other materials that easily shatter in order to prevent injury.

Plan for Slow and Steady Travel

Many travel during the holiday season—if you are traveling with an elderly loved one, give yourselves plenty of time to reach your destination. If you will be driving, stop regularly to allow for bathroom breaks and much-needed stretching. Apps such as Waze and Google Maps can help drivers choose less-trafficked routes, which can prevent unnecessary stress.

If you will be flying, try to choose dates that are not peak flying days, which include the days before and after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Make sure seniors pack a carry-on with two days’ worth of clothing, healthy snacks and at least week’s supply of any medication they take regularly.

Encourage Them to Enjoy Holiday Food—in Moderation

The holidays—especially Thanksgiving—usually mean plenty of delicious food, but typical dishes served during the holidays often have unhealthy levels of sugar, fat and salt. Remind elderly loved ones to stay mindful of any dietary recommendations their doctor has previously made, and to choose smaller portions of rich dishes. Alcohol is also often served during the holidays, but can interact poorly with medication, so help seniors limit their alcohol intake by serving in smaller glasses. Choking can be a serious hazard at any time of the year, so keep elderly loved ones safe by ensuring they don’t dine alone.

Allow Avila Home Care to Help Make the Holidays a Special Time for Your Loved One

The last thing anyone wants is to constantly worry or stress over the well-being of an elderly loved one during the holiday season. The dedicated homecare providers at Avila Home Care can help ease the difficulty of caring for an elderly loved one, whether by providing general housekeeping, meal preparation, companionship and more. Let us focus on the safety and well-being of the senior in your life, so you can focus on simply enjoying the holiday season with them—contact us today for more information about our homecare program!

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