Elderly Safety on Holiday Visits


The perfect, Normal Rockwell images of all the family generations together are very heartwarming. They’re tempting and beautiful. They’re also potentially dangerous. Fortunately, with some careful foresight, a safe time can be enjoyed by all.

Electric Wires
Do a search throughout your home, especially around sound systems, computers and of course, around any holiday decorations. Between eyesight issues, unfamiliarity and the tendency of some to shuffle feet, these cables create a tripping hazard and must be moved very far out of any walking path. Consider using specially designed extension cord clips to tack stray cables to a nearby wall.

Other Tripping Hazards
While doing that household check, keep an eye out for any other tripping hazards. For example:

  • Proliferation of toys: For the duration of Grandma and/or Grandpa’s stay, the children will need to keep their toys limited to specific, low-traffic areas of the house. If they play around the grandparents, they will need to put everything away at the end of each play session.
  • Pet items: Food dishes, toys, pet beds. They may need to be relocated.
  • Carpets: Wall-to-wall carpeting is generally not a serious issue, but area rugs do need to be taken into consideration, as the edges can also pose a tripping hazard. If smaller rugs cannot be put away entirely, at least make sure there are no upturned edges and if there are, find a way to secure them evenly to the floor. Often overlooked is the bathroom rug. Put it away.

Make sure that there is adequate lighting, especially during the night, for the path from your guest accommodations to the bathroom. Additionally, extra care should also be taken in the outdoor entranceway, as good lighting vital in inclement weather.

Safety Equipment
Taking into account your loved one’s specific condition, consider the need to install safety equipment, such as a grab bar, next to the toilet and bathtub. These can be purchased in a variety of finishes to match almost any décor and are also a good idea to have in a house with small children. Non-slip panels in the bathtub and on a shower stall floor are also a must.

Consult the experts
The expert on the condition of your parent/grandparent is his or her caretaker. Get to know any kind of medication scheduling involved. Make sure you have an adequate supply available, should weather not allow her to return home on the appointed day. Ask the caretaker if there are any other preparations to be made, items to be purchased, or habits of which you should be aware.

Plan realistically
If you are dealing with a situation in which your loved one may not be fully in control of his or her mental faculties, be realistic about your expectations. It may be wise to take your family to your grandparent rather than taking him out of his familiar surroundings. As heartbreaking as it may be to break with traditions, safety, along with the happiness and comfort of the elderly, must come as first priority. Be in touch with someone who takes care of your loved one on a daily basis to determine what will work best for all of you, together.


Wishing a happy and safe holiday seasons for families everywhere.

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