With shopping for presents, gift wrapping, and traveling to loved ones’ homes, the holidays can be a source of stress for aging adults. Some of them even begin to dread this time of year. This year the stress will be compounded for many who are worried about COVID-19 transmission. However, you can make it less stressful and more enjoyable by doing your part.

If you’ll be welcoming aging loved ones into your home for the holidays, there are a few ways that you can prepare. Since some of these require some planning, it’s never too early to start making your home safe for their arrival.

1. Quarantine for 14 Days Before Seeing Your Aging Relatives

To reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to aging relatives the CDC recommends that everyone quarantine for 14 days. The risk for people 65 and older getting a severe case of COVID-19 is high and about 80% of the deaths in the U.S. have been from people older than 65.

If you are unable to quarantine for a full 14 days, you can try isolating for 4 to 5 days and then going to get a rapid test before seeing your elderly relatives.

Keep in mind that rapid tests are not 100% accurate and you could still be carrying the virus despite testing negative. If you’re not able to quarantine for a full 14 days but receive a negative test result you should still practice staying six feet apart from your relatives and wear your mask.

2. Remove Clutter From Walkways and Counters

Many aging adults develop vision issues that make it hard to see items on the ground or floor. Because of that, one of the first things that you should do to prepare for older visitors is to keep your sidewalks, hallways, and counters free of clutter.

This task includes ensuring that your holiday decorations, children’s toys, and even furniture don’t block pathways. Additionally, prevent energetic pets from getting in the way when your loved ones are walking around. You want them to be able to move around comfortably.

3. Secure Loose Rugs, Carpeting, and Cords

For the same reason, it’s essential to remove fall hazards. For instance, most throw rugs and bathroom or kitchen mats move when you walk on them. Secure these items to the floor with slip-resistant surfaces if possible, and add nonslip shower mats to the bathroom. Otherwise, remove them from walkways. Also, keep lamp and extension cords out of the way.

4. Install Safety Rails Along Stairs and in the Bathroom

If your loved ones need safety devices in the bathroom, you can install handlebars to aid with getting into and out of the shower. Handrails are helpful for sitting and standing in the bathroom too. While you may escort your loved ones as they walk up and down the stairs, adding handrails provides extra safety.

5. Have Blankets, Pillows and Suitcase Stands on Hand

You can make your loved ones feel at home by giving them a special space to call their own and for getting quiet time. To enhance their comfort, make sure that you have plenty of blankets and pillows. For extra convenience, get the suitcase stands so that they don’t have to bend too far to access their clothes and toiletries.

6. Don’t Forget Allergies and Other Dietary Restrictions

When you shop for food for the holiday visit, stock up on snacks and meal ingredients that are safe for your loved ones to eat. You need to be particularly careful about allergies. On top of that, some aging adults have trouble eating hard or tough foods, or maybe they need to limit how much sugar or salt than they can consume.

The best way to make a senior-friendly menu is to discuss the foods that they usually eat, and create your shopping list based on that. Since it’s the holidays, you can find special items that they wouldn’t normally eat but that still adhere to their diets.

7. Keeps Dim Lights on Overnight

Sometimes, mellow holiday lighting can conceal fall hazards and make it hard to see where you’re walking. During the night, use night lights and dim automatic lighting in your hallways instead of leaving your holiday lights on. Battery-powered candles are a great alternative to night lights in bedrooms and bathrooms. Furthermore, make light switches easy to reach and use.

8. Don’t Hesitate to Request Help

There’s no problem with acknowledging that you need an in-home caregiver to help you accommodate your aging loved ones during the holidays. You can find the help that you need in the Caring Home Care registry. Offering a variety of services, all of the professionals understand how stressful the holidays can be and can assist with keeping your loved ones safe.


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