The tree is up, the lights are hung, the gifts are wrapped and the baked goods are starting to fill our households with a sweet alluring aroma. That’s right, we are just days away from the big day. Christmas is almost here!!!
If you can’t tell, we’re just a little bit excited and we’re sure you are too. After all, with all the fun gatherings, the joyous caroling, the excitement of giving the perfect gift, and most of all the family time, Christmas is a magical time.
With all the magic, did you know there was a dark side to the Christmas holiday? No, we aren’t talking about the myth of Krampus, and we aren’t trying to be Scrooge or the Grinch.
So, what is the dark side of Christmas?
According to statistics, the answer is death. In fact, death rates are higher Christmas Day, the day after Christmas and New Year’s Day than any other day of the year.
You may be thinking, well that makes sense with all the ice, alcohol consumption and traveling. You’re partially true. However, the majority of deaths on these days, 93% of them to be exact, are due to natural causes. Furthermore, studies have found that there is a spike in death amongst all age groups except for children.
Wow, this is pretty dark for a Christmas blog. Let’s get back to the bright side of things by discussing how you can ensure your elderly loved one experiences a healthy and safe Christmas holiday.
The Two Sides of Salt or Good Cop, Bad Cop
Too much salt on your food is bad, but salt on your steps, driveway and outdoor walkways is good. During all the holiday feasting, it is important to remember to use salt in moderation. Studies have linked a high-salt diet to increased risk of high blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. However, it is critical to remember to keep all outside walkways covered in salt during the cold holiday weather to ensure safety from slips and falls.
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful
Many enjoy the warmth of a fire on a cold Christmas morning but the flames can go from enjoyable to disastrous in a matter of seconds. To keep this from happening make sure combustible material such as tissue and wrapping paper, gifts, cottons and even Christmas trees are placed a safe distance from a fire or heater.
Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
While we are on the topic of fire, make sure you keep a watchful eye on your Christmas tree. Keep it watered and looking green, once the needles start to brown be extra cautious. In addition, make sure your strand of lights is working properly and there are no exposed wires. Christmas tree fires from careless decorating cost upwards of $15 million annually in damages.
Deck the Halls…
We all know that holiday decorations aren’t just for the tree. After all, the famous song instructs us to deck the halls with boughs of holly. When decking the halls, we urge you to keep safety for your elderly loved one in mind. You can do this by:
- Making sure hallways are free of clutter
- Keeping electrical cords taped down and out of the way
- Avoid putting tinsel or decorations on railings or other support systems your loved one may use
- Skip floor-based decorations to avoid tripping
- Be wary of twinkling lights, the flashing could cause a distraction
The Rug Doctor
While we are on the topic of décor, let’s discuss rugs. Many people like to hide electrical cords with rugs. When decorating an elderly loved one’s space we recommend avoiding this practice. Even though the cord is hidden, it could still cause a trip if your loved one using a wheeled transport device such as a walker. If you do plan on using rugs for décor, make sure they are secured to the floor using grip tape.
The Sweet Treats
One of the best things about the holidays is the sweet treats. Remember it is ok for your loved one to eat some of the goodies but they should eat them in moderation to prevent sugar highs and lows. In addition, we recommend keeping alcohol use to a minimum, especially if your loved one is on any medication.
These are just a few of the many ways you can help your elderly loved one reduce their risk of injury this holiday season. If you would like more help, feel free to reach out to us here at Wiser Home Care Services. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.