Winter is a wonderful time of year, and for most of us, it represents a chance to celebrate holidays and get together with family and friends. But the season can also be treacherous for senior citizens. Each year, roughly 36 million falls are reported among older adults, resulting in more than 32,000 deaths. Many of these accidents occur in areas where winter means cold, ice, and snow. Assisted living solutions may be the answer for some seniors and their families, but there are also ways you can keep your loved one safe without relying on assisted living. Here, we’ll look at a few of them.
Make Your Home a Safe One
If older relatives are visiting for the holidays (or during any time of year), make sure your home is safe and accessible. Stairs are an obvious issue for some seniors, so if there’s a first-floor bedroom available, assign that to your loved one. Other ways to make your home safe for senior visits include:
- Making sure sidewalks are clear and de-iced in winter
- Keeping your floors free of clutter and tripping hazards
- Rearranging furniture so it’s easy to access and move around
- Keeping electrical cords tucked away
- Laying non-slip pads underneath rugs
Stick to a Healthy Diet and Stay Hydrated
The holidays, with their cakes, candies, and other rich foods, are notorious opportunities for overeating. With that said, try to plan meals that include plenty of healthy food options, like fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats. Instead of one or two large meals a day, schedule several light meals that allow for variety; eating lightly is always a good idea anyway, but especially so for seniors who may be on medications or who have digestive issues.
Drinking plenty of water is also a way for your senior to stay healthy during the holidays. Older individuals, in particular, need plenty of fluids throughout the day; dehydration can lead to hospitalization. Make sure you leave plenty of opportunities for your senior loved one to drink water, and remember that fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of that.
Keep Cooking Communal but Supervised
Cooking meals with your older family member or friend, especially during the holidays, can be a wonderful opportunity for you and your loved one to share memories and bond. But it’s a very good idea to give them less injury-prone tasks, such as organizing, prepping, or measuring ingredients. Keep chopping, cutting, steaming and boiling on your to-do list, and encourage them to do all kitchen activities in a seated position.
Keep an Ear Out for Noise Levels
Many seniors wear hearing aids to help them stay engaged. But these devices can sometimes heighten background noise, making it difficult for your loved one to concentrate. Multiple loud conversations and background music happening simultaneously can cause seniors to withdraw. If you notice this happening, bring the noise level down and try to create more intimate conversation spots away from crowds to help your loved one stay engaged.
To find out more about assisted living solutions and other resources to help your senior stay safe, contact Senior Care Authority today!