At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that the holidays can be a bit stressful. If you’re hosting a holiday get-together, you are most likely contemplating the menu, the planning, the shopping, and the cleaning as you prepare to welcome your guests. If your guest list includes elderly family members or guests, there may be another step to take in your party planning: assessing your home for fall risks. Fall risk is higher for seniors than other age groups, with the number of falls and the severity of injuries increasing as well, according to Dr. Lisa Cannada of Saint Louis University Hospital. According to the CDC, one out of three adults over the age of 65 falls, and holidays often see a surge in the frequency of falls, simply because house guests are unfamiliar with the layout of a home, says Dr. Cannada. Preventing holiday falls requires a small amount of extra effort, but some commonsense tips make the process easily manageable.
Several factors increase the risk of a fall for a senior in an unfamiliar setting. Says Dr. Cannada, “They may be unaware of other environmental factors in the home that could put them at risk for a fall such as loose rugs, damaged flooring, poorly lit areas and cluttered furniture.”
Dr. Cannada recommends taking the following precautions for preventing holiday falls:
- It’s easy to accumulate clutter, such as boxes of décor and stacks of gifts from holiday shopping. Take the time to declutter your home and make improvements to prevent falls and keep family and friends safe.
- Keep the path between your front door, driveway and mailbox well-lit and clear of debris.
- For cold weather locations, keep salt and a shovel near the front door so you do not have to walk on an icy sidewalk in order to reach them.
- Install a nightlight along the route between the halls/walkways of your home.
- Clear clutter out of the hallways and off stairs
- Secure loose area rugs with double-faced tape or slip-resistant backing;
- Arrange furniture for a clear pathway between rooms
- If you have young kids who will be visiting for the holidays or who live in your home, be sure to install child-proof gates next to the stairs in your home to prevent children from accessing them without adult supervision.
- Children may receive lots of new toys for the holidays and scatter them around the house. It’s important to contain those toys in a dedicated play area and clean up toys after kids are done playing with them to avoid tripping.
Senior Lifestyle encourages you to limit fall risks in your home by taking precautions before guests arrive, and enjoy time with friends and family this holiday season. For information about a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.