The tree, lights and other holiday décor certainly help set the mood for the holidays but in some cases can be fire hazards or even a trip and fall hazard for the senior in your life.
Use caution and common sense when decorating and adding lights or trees or other decorations around the house. Remember, these items are only out a few weeks of the year and if the seniors in your life are accustomed to a particular, unobstructed pathway to and from a room, placing an item in that path in the name of holiday decorating could lead to a trip or fall accident
If your aging relatives are coming to visit you for a holiday visit, make certain you contact their home medical alert provider and provide them with the length of the stay and the new address. The personal medical alert device can (and should) be taken along for the holiday visit.
Here are our tips for safe holiday decorating:
- If you’re using a ladder to string lights or decorations, make certain the ladder is placed on firm ground and that the rungs are in good condition and are stable. Don’t climb a ladder unless you have a “spotter” in case you fall or need assistance.
- Never block a pathway with holiday decorations. Also make certain that decorations don’t block any outlets or meters that utility companies may need to access. Don’t overload any electrical outlets in the home with holiday lighting or decorations.
- Only use light sets and extension cords that are certified for indoor use. The same goes for outdoor lighting, make certain it is rated for outdoor use.
- Inspect all cords for bare spots or frayed wires and discard them if found. Don’t use lighting fixtures with broken or cracked sockets or loose connections.
- Don’t overload outlets. Set the lights on timers if that is easier than having to reach down and plug and unplug lights. Having a timer will also negate the need for remembering to turn lights off when your aging relatives go to bed at night.
- Make certain no cords are placed under rugs and that no cords are in the walkways.
- If you put up a fresh tree for the holidays, make sure the base remains full with water to prevent the tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. If you use an artificial tree make certain it is fire resistant and carries a fire resistant label when you purchase it.
- Make certain that all decorations used are non combustible in nature.
- If you have a fireplace and decorate the mantle for the holidays make certain the fireplace has been cleaned and inspected prior to use and make certain the flue is open when the fire is burning. Make sure you always use a grate in front of the fireplace to catch any errant sparks.
Holidays are a fun time, full of decorations and family gatherings. With care and caution you can enjoy a holiday free of stress and any potential health hazards with friends or family.