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December 19, 2016

Helping Seniors Safely Deck the Halls This Holiday Season

helping seniorsWhat’s more fun than holiday decorating? At Valley of the Sun Homecare, we’d say helping seniors with holiday decorating! The nostalgia experienced in carefully unpacking each precious ornament, and the memories evoked with lovingly placing each piece are priceless.

We also know, however, that there are a variety of dangers inherent with the holiday season, and it’s our mission to make sure older adults remain safe at all times. These tips, courtesy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, are a great place to start in helping seniors, and family members of all ages, to enjoy the holidays without experiencing danger:

Tree Safety

  • If using an artificial tree, be careful to choose one that’s labeled as fire-resistant.
  • For fresh trees, check to make sure the needles are firmly in place.
  • Be sure to set trees up far away from any sources of heat.
  • Do not place trees in high traffic areas, and be sure secure them to the wall or ceiling with thin wire to keep them from tipping over.

Light Safety

  • Be sure that strands of lights are marked as having passed inspection from an independent testing lab.
  • Discard any damaged light strings, particularly if wires are frayed or bare.
  • Attach no more than three strands of lights to a single extension cord.
  • Never leave lights on when leaving home or going to bed.
  • Make sure that cords are safely out of the way of foot traffic to avoid tripping and falls.
  • Candles pose a tremendous safety risk for seniors, and we don’t recommend using them at all during the holidays, or at any time of year. Instead, consider using electric or battery-powered candles. They are safer, and many can be set to timers to automatically turn themselves on and off.

Decoration Safety

  • Check packaging for tinsel and icicles to make sure they’re manufactured with lead-free materials.
  • Use care when placing fragile glass decorations, and make sure they’re securely attached to the tree.
  • Make sure all decorations used are flame-resistant.

Outdoor Safety

  • Enlist help to decorate any areas that require use of a ladder.
  • Be sure to place decorations a safe distance away from walking paths.

General Safety Tips

  • Ensure that no one smokes anywhere near the tree or other flammable decorations.
  • Put together an emergency plan to implement in case of fire, and practice that plan.
  • When cooking, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes that could catch fire.
  • Perform a walk-through safety review of the home after all holiday decorations are in place.

Scottsdale’s top home healthcare company, Valley of the Sun Homecare, is available to help make sure seniors are able to safely enjoy all the holiday season has to offer. Contact us at 480-264-5252 to find out how!