shutterstock_1723848115_2jo0GfW..jpeg (shutterstock_1723848115.webp)The holiday season is full of incredible opportunities for those conducting in-home care to bond with their senior loved ones.  However, it is also a time of year that comes with its own set of safety hazards. It is important to ensure that the home environment is safe and secure for seniors during this festive time and that the daily living of your senior isn't interrupted by the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

At Gallagher Home Care, our senior home care experts know exactly what parts of this season are most difficult to navigate for our elderly clients. Their years of firsthand experience have given them a repertoire of specific criteria to help make the holidays much easier for families, caregivers, and seniors alike.

Understanding the Unique Risks for Seniors During Holidays

The fact is, some of your typical routines and activities are not always best care practices during the holidays. That's because, put simply, it's a whole different ball game. There are a number of unique factors to consider if you want to conduct excellent home care during this hectic season.

  1. Increased Fall Risk

    Falls are already one of the biggest concerns for seniors, and during the holidays, there may be an increased risk. It is important to take extra precautions such as securing loose rugs, ensuring proper lighting throughout the home, and removing any clutter. And, as fun as it may be to decorate the home, it's important to be mindful while doing so.

  2. Anything from light cords to low-hanging ornaments could potentially be a hazard for our elderly loved ones. Make sure to keep up the pace of your light housekeeping to ensure that anything that could be a fall risk is taken care of.

  3. Navigating Crowded Spaces

    Not only is the outside world going to be full of people during the holidays, but there is also likely going to be an influx of guests coming to and from seniors' own homes. Access to proper mobility is an important consideration for all older adults, but especially so for those with chronic conditions requiring special accommodation.  Make sure to plan out any upcoming gatherings and ensure that your senior's home is prepped for safe and easy navigation.

  4. Winter Weather Hazards

    Winter weather can bring about its own set of dangers for seniors. From icy sidewalks to cold temperatures, it's important to make sure your senior is prepared for any potential hazards. Make sure they have proper winter attire and footwear, as well as necessary supplies in case of a power outage or other emergency.

  5. Fire Hazards

    The aforementioned cold weather that often accompanies the holidays causes many to resort to alternative forms of heating for the home. However, this too comes with its own set of precautions.

  6. For instance, lit candles cause nearly 8,000 house fires per year in the US. To make matters worse, seniors are more at risk for severe burns as their skin is thinner and takes longer to heal. Therefore, it's important to take extra measures like using flameless candles or only lighting them while supervised.

  7. Other fire hazards during this season include holiday lights, which professional caregivers should keep a close eye on, and fireplaces. Warmth is important, but monitoring safe temperatures is even more so.

  8. Dietary Concerns

    There are a number of seniors with specific dietary needs and restrictions. During the holidays, when the families of elderly clients will be bringing dishes in and out of the home for festivity's sake, there needs to be an extra watchful eye on what these seniors are consuming.

  9. To help offset the potential for harm that these seniors might experience, try to make it a bonding experience to prepare meals with one another. Perhaps, when cooking something specifically for the senior, create enough to share with the rest of their family and transform it into a shared experience as opposed to an exclusive one.

  10. Mental Health and Isolation

    Despite their best intentions, there are times when family members are unable to visit their aging loved one for the holidays. When this happens, you can certainly expect the senior to be in a less-than-thrilled mental state. Try to change their perspective by engaging with them, asking them questions about their families, and making a solid attempt to bond with and understand them. This is a care solution that has a double benefit, as it will be good for their mood as well as cognitively engaging.

Emergency Preparedness: What to Do in Case of an Accident or Health Issue

No one wants to think about accidents or health issues occurring during the holidays, but it's important to have a plan in place just in case. When providing care for seniors at home, especially during this busy time of year, it's crucial to be prepared and know what steps to take in case of an emergency.

First and foremost, make sure all necessary contact information is readily available and easily accessible. This includes phone numbers for emergency services, doctors, and family members or caregivers who can assist in case of an accident or health issue.

It's also a good idea to have a first aid kit stocked with necessary supplies for any minor injuries that may occur. Make sure that the senior knows where the kit is located and how to use it if needed.

In case of a more serious emergency, it's important to have a plan in place for transportation to the nearest hospital or urgent care facility. This may involve having a designated family member or caregiver ready and available to transport the senior, as well as knowing which facilities are closest and most suitable for their needs.

Taking these steps and being prepared can help ease any potential stress or panic in the case of an accident or health issue during the holidays. It's also important to regularly check in with the seniors and their doctor to ensure they are in good health and able to handle any potential holiday activities.

Our Home Care Services At Gallagher Can Hel

While it may seem overwhelming to prepare for all of the potential hazards and challenges that come with caring for a senior during the holidays, it's important to remember that with proper planning and support, it can be a joyous and fulfilling experience. By taking these precautions and being proactive in addressing any concerns, you can ensure a safe and happy holiday season for your senior loved one. And don't forget to take care of yourself as well – make sure to schedule breaks and ask for help when needed.

Always remember that you don't need to take on this responsibility on your own. At Gallagher Home Care, we understand the unique challenges that come with providing care for seniors during the holidays. That's why our home care services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual client.

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season! 

Interested in utilizing some of our senior home care services this holiday season? Contact us today to get started. Schedule your free care consultation today, or call us at (412) 279-2257 to learn more!