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Celebrating The Holidays Safely With Your Senior Loved Ones

December 12, 2016 | By admin

At Thrive Home Care, we advocate for the safety of our clients and our caregivers, especially during the holidays. We made a list of tips to make the winter holidays a safer and joyous season for everyone. Trees, lights and candles play a significant part during the holiday season, but using without caution can potentially pose a danger. You can have a family member or your caregiver help you with these tips below.

Safe Holiday Decorations Tips

With trees and holiday decorations:

  • • If you plan on buying an artificial tree, make sure to check that the tree is labeled “fire resistant.”
  • • If you plan on buying a fresh tree, choose a tree with green needles that are not brittle and break easily. This indicates that the tree is beginning to dry. Also, choose a tree with sticky resin on the base of the trunk. You want a healthy tree to last through the holidays.
  • • Set up your tree away from any heat sources like the fireplace, air vents, radiators, and stand alone heaters.
  • • Make sure to always have water at the base of the tree to prevent it from drying up too fast.
  • • Use decorations that are fire-resistant and noncombustible.

With lighting decorations and displays:

  • • Ensure that the lights, wether they are indoor or outdoor lights, have been tested by a reputable and nationally recognized testing laboratory. These products will be marked with a registered UL label. Use newer lights with a thicker wiring and safety fuses to prevent the wires from overheating.
  • • Before installing your lights, make sure that there are no broken bulbs, damaged wires, or loose connections. Throw away any damaged lights.
  • • Daisy-chain your lights according the manufacturer’s guidelines. It is typically recommended to daisy chain no more than three standard-size sets of lights together.
  • • If using extension cords, be sure they are rated for the intended use. Never use indoor extension cords outside.
  • • Outdoor lights must be rated for outdoor use. Always plug them only into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GCFI) receptacle or a portable GFCI.
  • • Turn the lights of before going to bed or leaving the house. If you plan on using a timer, set it to a time-window when people are present in the home. Never leave the lights unattended.

With using candles:

  • • Keep the candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • • Keep burning candles within sight.
  • • Light your candles away from flammable items such as curtains, decorations, tree, and walls.
  • • Use non-flammable candle holders.
  • • Always extinguish your candles before going to bed, or leaving the room or house. Never leave your candles unattended.
  • • If possible, use battery-powered candles. This is the safest way to avoid fire risks.

With using the fireplace:

  • • Do not burn gift wrappers or plastic in the fireplace. It will emit toxic particles which are unhealthy to breath in. Also, they can suddenly ignite and intensely burn.
  • • Place a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from igniting materials nearby.
  • • Follow the Spare The Air forecast. There will be days where they will advice households to refrain using the fireplace on certain days.

Clear The Walkway

For seniors, falling are a major concern. Luckily we don’t get snow here in the Bay Area, but there are days we will have rain or moisture on the ground. It is important to be safe when walking up and down steps and sidewalks especially early in the morning. Always have a family member or a caregiver assist you.

Stay warm

We feel the nice crisp air during winter, and while it feels great, we should try to stay warm to prevent hypothermia and getting sick. Seniors generally produce less body heat which makes them more susceptible to hypothermia. If not detected early enough, this could be very dangerous. Certain conditions like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, severe arthritis, and some medications can limit the body’s response to cold temperatures, leaving seniors vulnerable.

  • • Dress warmly. Wear layered clothing. To reduce the loss of body heat, wear hats, gloves, scarves, warm socks and boots.
  • • Limit your time outdoors and stay indoors on colder or windy days. If you begin to shiver, go indoors immediately.
  • • Keep your thermostat at a comfortable temperature.
  • • Wear warm clothing even if you are only going to be indoors. Use warm blankets to keep you comfortable through the night.
  • • Eating hot, nourishing meals and drinking warm beverages will help to keep your body temperature up.

Safety with home heating

House fires are a special concern, especially during the colder season. Family members and caregivers also need to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide. Effects of exposure to carbon monoxide are headaches, dizziness, nausea, convulsions and even death. Individuals with respiratory or hear conditions are even more sensitive to these symptoms.

To prevent problems with home heating:

  • • Regularly clean and inspect your chimneys and flues as needed.
  • • Before winter, have your furnace inspected to ensure it is in good, safe operating condition.
  • • Install smoke detectors on all areas of the home. If you already have them installed, have a family member or a caregiver check if they are functional or need battery replacement.
  • • Install carbon monoxide detectors in all areas of the home. If you already have them installed, have a family member or a caregiver check if they are functional or need battery replacement.
  • • Leave a window slightly ajar if using a kerosene stove to vent out any kerosene fumes.
  • • Place heaters at least 3 feet from the christmas tree, curtains, walls, and upholstered furniture.
  • • Always have a fire extinguisher ready. Replace them as needed. Make sure every member of the family and caregivers know how to use it.

Driving safety

You may want to drive around to visit friends and family during the holiday season. And while we do not have to deal with the winter snow here in the Bay Area, it is still important to have practice safety measures on the road.

  • • If possible, have a family or your caregiver drive you. There are also other options like Uber and Lyft for transportation.
  • • Keep your gas tank full.
  • • Keep an emergency travel kit in your car’s trunk. Include blankets, flashlight, portable charger if you have one, water, and first aid kit.
  • • If you intend on driving yourself, make sure to let someone know your destination, route and ETA.
  • • Always bring your cellphone in case of emergencies.
  • • Ensure that you are well enough to drive.

We wish you all a happy and safe holidays. We hope that these tips can help especially during the winter season. Always remember that you have the support of Thrive Home Care and our dedicated team of caregivers. It is our passion to serve and be a part of your health and well being. We are available 24/7 year round, just give us a call.


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