Home for the Holidays— Special Ways to Make Your Senior Feel at Home for Christmas
Guest Blog By Marina Lambropoulos
The holidays offer oodles of reasons to be stressed— finding the perfect gifts, frenzied cookie swaps, mailing out Christmas cards. But for many, the biggest culprit of holiday stress is family — family parties and get-togethers, the family commitments, and the never-ending cycle of family obligations. Yes, family relationships can be draining at times and get tangled up like a box of Christmas lights (especially with our elderly loved ones who experience health challenges and may even dread this time of year), but they can also be rejuvenating. It’s important to not let unwelcome guests such as stress and worry ruin the holidays for you and your senior, with some simple planning you can help ensure that your entire family, including your older adults feel extra special in your home at Christmas.
Some of the best holiday memories can be made by simply spending quality time with your family inside the home. Show your appreciation by being caring and doing fun things together. If you don’t know where to begin, consider starting small– decorating the Christmas tree, baking grandma Helen’s chewy sugar cookies, frosting the gingerbread house, singing Joy To The World, watching It’s a Wonderful Life, making homemade Christmas ornaments, playing Christmas-opoly all while sipping on homemade hot cocoa (with lots of whipped cream) in your pj’s! Spending time with your elderly loved one is always a good investment!
Getting Ready For Their Visit
On that note, senior-proofing your home prior to your seniors holiday visit is always a good investment too and an entire aging-in-place home remodel is not necessary. Here are a few suggestions (inside n’ out) to help ensure your home is as hazard-free as possible so you can enjoy every fuzzy minute together.
One of the top ways to prevent falls in older adults is to make sure that their living space is well-lit. Plug in night lights in all visible areas of the house— let the lights shine on to help guide your senior in order to maintain their balance. Auto lighting in hallways, bedrooms, and stairs is an extremely useful tool that ensures that your high traffic walkways will be bright enough, and your senior doesn’t have to remember to turn anything on— Huge plus! In similar fashion, touch lamps are a nice added touch (no pun intended!) for seniors who may have arthritis and loss of finger flexibility to turn regular lamp knobs. Similarly, be extra aware and cautions if you have a four legged furry friend and their lurking pet toys in the house; according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Safety Research, more than 86K senior falls annually were linked to tripping over a kitty or doggie— yikes!
Subsequently, your senior’s first shower in your home can be a major milestone. If your bathroom doesn’t already have grab bars around the tub and shower you can buy an easy to install adjustable bath safety bar (that clamps on to the edge of the tub) to help avoid accidental slips when getting in and out of the tub. Coupled with, a bathtub transfer seat (with strong suction cup grips, which helps from shifting), is extremely useful and minimal assembly is needed. Antibacterial non slip shower/bath mats (with suction cups) is a great choice—make sure it covers the entire tub area plus it’s machine washable— Not your 1950’s bath mat! Moreover, who doesn’t need a seat boost, especially if your senior has bad knees or hips? Toilet seat risers come in handy portable and removable options that are ideal for travel use that include hand grips and armrests—your senior will appreciate you lots!
Don’t Ignore The Furniture
As a rule, arrange furniture where pathways are easy to navigate, clear clutter and countertops, remove electrical cords and anything else that may cause a fall for anybody that lives in the household. Wherever you have stairs, (inside or out), make sure all railings are secure and consider installing non-slip rubber stair treads for increased traction. In fact, why not throw in a few pairs of warm anti-skid winter socks and slippers?!
In the end, these can’t miss Yuletide suggestions may be the best holiday present you’ll ever give to the people you cherish most. Sharing your safe home with visiting seniors while giving them the most precious gift of quality time is our recipe for making your senior feel at HOME.
If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a senior family member when you are not there, learn more about how our WELL-BEING CHECKS can help ease your mind and keep your loved ones safe.