Guest Post-Keep Your Elders Safe During the Holidays

Winter_caregiver_seniorWhen the holiday season arrives, it is a whirlwind of activity and then it seems to be over in a flash. As a caregiver to an elderly loved one, the holiday season can be a difficult time. For many caregivers, routine is key, but when the shopping errands increase, the weather starts to change, and family comes to visit, you may worry more about the safety of your elder. Amid the chaos of the holiday season, there are a few helpful tips to help keep your elder safe and enjoy the holiday season.

Change Up Tradition
If your family is like millions of other families throughout the country, Thanksgiving may be your biggest traditional holiday. Maybe you are the annual host and every year you insist on making all of the food. However, a lot can change in a year. Perhaps your elderly parent was starting to show early signs of Alzheimer’s, but has become progressively worse. Hosting Thanksgiving may cause more stress than feelings of nostalgia. If you insist on remaining the host, delegate responsibilities such as making it more of a potluck style or limiting the amount of guests you want to come to dinner. Doing less of the cooking may be safer for your elder, as he or she may end up being injured or burned in the kitchen. If you still plan on cooking, have a visiting family member care for your elder to prevent an spills, trips, or other minor accidents.

Watch the Weather
The holiday season often marks a time of snow and ice in many parts of the country. While a family Thanksgiving is a little more special with a light dusting of snow, it may be more dangerous for your elder. Make sure you keep the sidewalks clear of snow and icy patches. When running holiday errands with your loved one, make sure he or she has proper treading on footwear and is wearing warm clothing. A slip and fall on ice can put your elder in a nursing home and a lack of weather appropriate clothing can lead to hypothermia. Even if you feel warm enough, remember that elders are more susceptible to cold temperatures.

Watchful Eye on Other Caregivers
As your elder’s primary caregiver, there may be moments when you’re forced to give up a little responsibility, particularly if your loved one needs to stay in a nursing home facility or hospital after an injury or surgery. While you may not be providing round the clock care, you can still watch over your elder’s care without being intrusive or interrupting recovery time. While the majority of care facilities are clean, safe, and appropriately staffed, the holidays can make nursing home facilities more busy with visitors coming and going, as well as inadequately staffed due to the holidays. Lend a hand to your elder’s care when you are able (and it’s appropriate to do so) to make sure he or she is safe.

Donna FitzgeraldAbout the Author-Donna Fitzgerald is an advocate for elderly safety. After placing her mother in a nursing home, she has found a new knack for informing others about some precautions they should take before their elders enter homes. Donna is a resident of North Carolina, and enjoys spending time with her family and two daughters.

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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