If you are a family caregiver for an elderly loved one who lives alone at home, the upcoming holidays will mean you’ll want to make sure that their home is safely decorated. Putting out all of the holiday décor is a big part of making a home feel festive and welcome. But with an aging loved one, you also need to make sure you are not creating any undue risks that may cause harm to them during the holiday season. Elder care can help ensure your senior’s safety during the holidays.
Before you break out all of those crates of holiday decorations, take some time to review these safety tips first.
The Christmas Tree
If your elderly loved one enjoys having a tree to hang all of her favorite ornaments from, make sure the tree is safe. One of the very first things to do is to determine which kind of tree your loved one will have – real or artificial. A real tree requires extra care so that it doesn’t become a fire hazard. Will your loved one be able to water it daily to keep the branches from drying out or should you ask an elder care provider to come to the home to help with this chore? If an artificial tree is chosen, make sure you choose one that is fire-resistant so that if any of the lights happen to get too warm, it’ll be less likely to catch fire.
Finally, don’t forget, that real or artificial, the tree should not be closer than three feet to any fire sources (like the fireplace or the stove), and nothing with any actual flame should be used on or near the tree (such as candles).
Holiday lights are a great way to make a room or home festive for the season. Choosing the right lights for both inside and outside is important. Only indoor lights should be used indoors and only outdoor lights should be used outdoors. If shopping with an elder care provider for new lights, they should read the labels and make sure the right kind is purchased.
Remember to watch where those cords are for lights as well. Often holiday lights are hung in places where there aren’t outlets nearby (like around windows or door frames). Have your elder care provider help by taping down all cords and making sure no cords cross a walking path.
Your loved one may love a candle scented with pine or cinnamon over the holidays, but make sure she remembers to only burn the candle when she’s awake (always snuff it when leaving the candle) and to be careful where she places it when using it. A candle should not have anything near it that could potentially catch fire if a draft were to cause the flame to grow.
Following these rules will ensure your loved one remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.