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Tips to Keep Seniors Safe During the Holidays

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Holidays are one of the best times for family members to enjoy spending time together. However, there are also additional safety risks present during this time of year. With the right preparation, families providing elderly care in Palm Beach can help keep their senior loved ones safe during the holiday season. 

Be Aware of Symptomatic Confusion

Holidays are busy, especially on days surrounding family, friend, church, or community functions your loved one will attend. It’s important to regularly check in and make sure your loved one isn’t feeling confused or overwhelmed by the many holiday activities. This is especially vital for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia since holidays can sometimes exacerbate confusion. Ensuring your loved one is feeling calm and comfortable and understands what’s going on is important because a confused senior can easily go unnoticed in the bustle of a holiday celebration, leading to dangerous behavior like wandering. Elevated stress can be difficult for seniors to experience and can impact health and wellbeing a great deal. Make sure to set aside time to check in with your loved one on a regular basis to ensure he or she isn’t feeling confused or overwhelmed. 

Prepare for the Weather

Winter can be a dangerous time for seniors to be outside due to the cold temperatures and potentially inclement weather conditions. Seniors are often more susceptible to the effects of cold weather than their younger counterparts and they will likely feel the effects sooner and for longer. Many seniors are already less steady on their feet, and a fall can lead to serious injury. To make sure your loved one is safe, encourage him or her to use walking aids if necessary, even if only during bad weather. When you attend events with your loved one and the weather is bad, walk with him or her to cars, houses, and other locations. If your loved one will be going out alone, encourage him or her not to drive in any kind of inclement weather. Instead, he or she should carpool with friends or hire a part-time caregiver in Palm Beach to assist with transportation. It is a good idea to ask a neighbor or a nearby friend to check in if your loved one will be going out without assistance. 

Help Your Loved One Stay Healthy

Holiday crowds in public places and even family events can be places where germs linger. Seniors are more prone to catching illnesses and experiencing more serious effects. A simple cold can affect a senior for weeks or turn into a serious complication like pneumonia. Because of the health risks associated with crowds, make sure your loved one is well prepared. When going holiday shopping, encourage your loved one to use antibacterial wipes on carts, either by carrying a pocket-sized container or using the wipes a store provides. Your loved one should also use hand sanitizer after shaking hands with someone or coming into contact with anything someone who seems ill has touched. Make sure your loved one is even more conscientious about hand washing after any trip out of the house, before eating, and before touching his or her face. If you know your loved one will be going to a holiday get-together where someone isn’t well, encourage him or her to take supplements like Airborne, which can ward off infections. 

Make Sure Decorations Are Safe

If you or your loved one put up holiday decorations, it’s important to make sure all the proper precautions are taken. You’ll want to make sure your loved one’s tree is fully secured in its base so there’s no risk of it toppling over. Use safe hangers or strips to ensure decorations won’t fall down inside or out. If your loved one uses a fireplace, encourage the use of a screen and never burn plastic or wrapping paper because these materials can create intense heat and cause a fire hazard. Encourage your loved one to follow general fire safety guidelines such as inspecting lights and extension cords before use, using newer lights that are less likely to cause fires, and turning Christmas lights off when out of the house. For additional protection against fires, your loved one should use electric warmers rather than candles.

Help keep your loved one safe and comfortable during the holidays as well as the rest of the year by hiring a professional caregiver from Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to assist seniors with a wide array of important daily tasks. We also offer specialized Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and dementia care Palm Beach families trust. For more information on our senior care services, call a friendly Care Manager at 561.429.8292 today.