Whether your loved ones or neighbors are getting older or you’ve reached that 65 years-or-older milestone yourself, senior citizen holiday safety is imperative. Winter brings an increased chance of home safety issues with the addition of decorative lights and heating challenges. Depression and the chance for slips and falls can also be unfortunate side effects of the season. How can you keep yourself or a senior loved one safe?
Holiday Decorating Safety
Holiday decorations are so cheery that they seem harmless! However, many hazards arise from having a Christmas tree and lights around your home.
- Christmas trees are fire hazards. Keep a real Christmas tree watered so it doesn’t dry out and artificial trees must be made of fire resistant materials.
- If you’re placing lights around or inside your home using a ladder, do so when a friend or loved one can help you to decrease the chances of injury.
- Adhere to any instructions on Christmas light strings and extension cords to prevent fire risk.
- Never leave candles unattended. Keep candles safely away from curtains, drapes, paperwork, or curious grandchildren or pets.
Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
It’s tempting to find creative ways to heat the indoors during a power outage or to try to warm up the house a few more degrees. However:
- NEVER operate a grill inside your home.
- Crack a window near a kerosene heater.
- Install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors throughout your home.
- Wear warm, breathable layers of clothing that won’t make you sweat. Sweat may cool down your body temperature so that you are more susceptible to hypothermia — even indoors!
It’s very easy for retirees just to stay indoors when the weather is colder. But, an important part of maintaining senior citizen holiday safety also includes well-being: beware of the winter blues!
- Don’t hesitate to ask nearby friends, neighbors, and relatives to check in on you or your senior loved one daily, especially if there are major health concerns or possible complications from a recent medical procedure.
- Keep busy doing the things you enjoy. Indulge in a great book, exercise with a television yoga class, create crafts, or find a new hobby.
- Seniors can write letters, emails or even learn to Skype or FaceTime so they can stay connected through the winter months.
Increased Health Complications
You know you need to lift with your knees when shoveling snow and take care not to slip on icy surfaces, but the physical perils of winter go beyond that. Comfortkeepers.com explains,
Persons over age 65 — especially those with a history of high blood pressure and heart disease — should leave snow shoveling to others. The combination of strenuous work and blood vessels constricted by the cold air raises the risk of heart attack. Falls and severe muscle strains are also risks.
Wear shoes or boots with excellent tread to prevent falls. But what else can you do to keep yourself safe while leaving your home or doing outside chores?
- Dress warmly — even if you think you’re going to be outside for a minute.
- Coat walkways and stairs with sand or ice melt.
- Keep a cell phone with you in case you need to call 911.
Heeding to these senior citizen holiday safety precautions can help keep the season bright. Show you care and keep yourself, loved ones and neighbors safe and secure this season.