Prepare Your Home for Elderly Relatives This Holiday Season

Nina Livelo

Nov 20 2019

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One of the numerous reasons we cherish the holiday season is that it brings loved ones together. It may be the only time of the year we find parents, grandparents, relatives, and friends all under the same roof. If they are coming from far away, they may even be there for days at a time.

Hosting holiday houseguests can be great fun, especially if you take the time to accommodate your home to each of your guest’s needs. If you plan on hosting elderly relatives, for example, you’ll want to take extra care to provide them with a safe and comfortable home away from home.

Does your home have a no-step entrance or ramp for those who can’t climb stairs? Are the doorways wide enough for wheelchairs to pass through? Is there a bathroom on the ground floor? These are just a few of the questions you’ll want to ask yourself to determine whether your home meets visitability standards for loved ones in wheelchairs or walkers.

That’s not all to consider, though, so we’ve provided a full list of tips for hosting elderly relatives. From medical alert systems to nightlights, here’s what you need to know to make sure your loved ones have a safe and jolly holiday visit.

elderly holidays

Home Safety Tips for Hosting Elderly Houseguests

Hosting your aging parents, grandparents, or relatives isn’t always as simple as making up a bed. For older adults with mobility issues, you’ll need to make provisions so they can get around obstacle-free and smoothly. For those with vision issues, you’ll need to make sure your home is adequately lit, especially for getting around at night.

Here are a few helpful tips to those ends as well as some others to ensure that their visit is hiccup-free.

Remind Them to Carry Medical Alert Systems

First things first, as much as you can prepare to host your elderly loved ones, there is always the risk of an unforeseeable accident. That’s why it’s a good idea to encourage your aging visitors to invest in medical alert systems that offer mobile coverage. LifeFone offers the widespread coverage of AT&T’s 4G LTE wireless network. It also offers some of the most stylish and discreet mobile medical alert systems on the market. Plus, with a battery life of 30 days, your loved one won’t have to worry about charging their device at all.

If your elderly guests already have medical alert systems, encourage them to check their coverage details to see if their mobile device is functional in your neighborhood. You might also want to give them a call before they leave to remind them to put it on before leaving their house.

Does your loved one need additional fall protection? Encourage them to choose between medical alert systems with automatic fall detection, such as Medical Alert by Connect America or LifeStation.

Tape Away Extension Cords

Falls are the number one reason for hospitalization of older adults, so do your best to eliminate any potential fall risks from your home. One common threat found in most homes around the holidays is extension cords, which snake through living spaces to join electric string lights and other decorations.

Make sure that these extension cords are well out of any walkways or open spaces. Fixing them in place with painter’s tape is a good way to make sure they don’t accidentally wind up in a dangerous area.

Remove Area Rugs

Though stylish and comfy, area rugs present a fall risk even to those of us without mobility issues. That should give you an idea of just how risky they are for aging folks whose strides are much shorter.

Remove your area rugs while your visitors are in town, or at least move them out of the way, keeping all walkways are clear. Take extra measures to guarantee that your rug is budge-free by fastening it to the floor. Rug grips, strong double-sided tape, and carpet tacks are all ways to keep your rug in place.

home safety

Prevent Puddles with a Welcome Mat

When it comes to hosting elderly guests, it’s worth reiterating the importance of doormats. Wet winter weather renders older adults 20% more likely to suffer from falls, indoors and outdoors.

Winter boots can track in snow, which melts and pools inside, creating slippery surfaces and puddles that present a fall risk. Prevent puddles by equipping all entrances and exits with ample-sized doormats for ultimate home safety.

Salt/Sand Your Driveway

Speaking of weather-induced falls, let’s not overlook the most slippery part of any home—the driveway. In the chilly winter temperatures that surround the holidays, snow and rain may freeze on your driveway. The resulting icy surface threatens to topple your visitors before they even make it to the door!

Toughen up slippery surfaces with salt or sand to make it easier for your loved ones to move between the car and the front door.

Keep Clutter-Free

A fundamental feature of holiday visits is opening gifts. That means wrapping paper, gift bags, and other scraps, which are seemingly harmless, but may just cause, say, your grandparents to trip.

Keep the floors clear of the mess that comes with unwrapping presents by placing a waste bin near the designated gift zone. That way you can toss waste as soon as it appears.

Decorate Consciously

Resist your holiday season decorating urge to wrap handrails and banisters in garland and lights. Your elderly guests will need them to hold onto for support.

Christmas trees are another potentially imposing holiday decoration that can complicate your elderly guests’ stay. Keep these decorations in spaces that won’t obstruct anyone’s ability to get around.

Keep a Light On

As we get older, we are more likely to wake in the night needing to run to the bathroom.  Facilitate these late-night bathroom runs by making sure that bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways are well lit.

Nightlights are a simple and cost-effective way to make sure your guests get around safely in the middle of the night.

Boost Home Safety with Specialized Equipment

Your elderly houseguests may require additional safety measures for the home, such as shower chairs, ramps, and raised toilet seats. Some equipment like nonslip shower mats and suction grab bars are affordable and can continue to be useful even after your guests have gone home.

Other equipment, such as shower chairs, transfer seats, and ramps, can be easily rented for the duration of their stay. Search the internet for durable medical equipment (DME) to find out where to rent these items.

Put These Tips Into Action

Now that you’ve got these aspects of home safety in mind, it’s time to prepare for your holiday guests. Your grandparents and other elderly visitors will appreciate the time and love you’ve put into accident-proofing your home. Taking the proper measures and using medical alert systems, everyone will have the peace of mind to fully enjoy the holiday season!

Top5 Medical Alert Systems
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