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. To that end:
- Keep floors clutter-free
- Keep exterior sidewalks clear
- Rearrange furniture so people can comfortably move around it
- Put non-slip pads underneath rugs
- Make sure electrical cords are tucked away
To keep stairs from becoming an issue, consider having your senior sleep on the first floor of your home. If not possible, make sure their room is close to the bathroom and use nightlights to help them navigate.
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 leave room for enjoying favorites without feeling stuffed. If you’re planning a big dinner for New Year’s Eve, for instance, consider serving a lighter lunch of salad or soup earlier in the day. 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. Have water easily accessible at home, and keep bottled water in a purse or bag if you’re running errands with your senior.
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 and cutting on your to-do list, and don’t ask them to move hot or steaming items from one surface to another. Encourage them to do all cooking activities in a seated position.
Keep an Ear Out for Noise Levels
Many seniors wear hearing aids, and while that can help them stay engaged, 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 from the conversation or festivities. 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!