Hosting A Safe Holiday Gathering for Senior Guests

Having guests visit for the holidays is an exciting time for the whole family, although some needs may vary from guest to guest. Senior citizens are especially unique in their needs. If you’re expecting a few elderly family members in for the holidays, you’ll need to prepare accordingly. Whether they’re spry or a bit mobility-impaired, you’ll find it’s best to have a safe home ready for your senior guests.

Here are some adjustments for your holiday gathering that will make it safer for your guests.

Arrange transportation

While rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are a great way to save time and ferry your guests to and from the airport, it’s not always a good idea to use those as a substitute for a personal pick up. Particularly when your senior guests need assistance, it’s usually best that you or another family member meet them at the airport. This way you can help them with any luggage and getting in and out of the vehicle. When picking up, make sure to clean your vehicle beforehand so your guests don’t have to work around vehicle clutter to get in and out. Additionally, make sure there’s enough room in the trunk to fit their luggage.

If you absolutely can’t manage to be at the airport yourself or send a family member, arrange a taxi pickup or paratransit service instead. They’re better equipped for pick-ups for people with mobility needs than your average rideshare driver.

Clear the clutter to ease navigation

As for the actual setup for the gathering, clutter pick-up is going to be a must! Cords and wires from lamps or other electronics may not be hazardous to you, because you know where they are. To guests, it’s an accident waiting to happen. Clear those stray cords by rearranging your room just enough to tuck them out of potential traffic areas.

If your clutter needs serious attention, give us a call and we’ll help you get started.

Shift coffee tables or other centerpiece furniture to allow more room around your couch and other seating areas. If you have any low shelves or decorations close to the floor, see if they can be moved to other spaces. This allows a wide berth for any wheelchair or walker access around the halls.

Make everything accessible on the first floor

If at all possible, try to make everything they need accessible downstairs. In a single-story home, this isn’t an issue. However, if you live in a house with stairs, attempt to create a guest bedroom on the first floor.

Stairs can be a pain on your senior guest’s knees, and especially after a long day of holiday cheer, they may find them insurmountable. Redoing sleeping arrangements to allow your guest to stay on the first floor will be the safest and least hazardous way of handling their stay.

Always be willing to lend a hand

Although your senior guests may be fairly autonomous, it’s still a good idea to have hands available for any assistance. When they arrive, be ready to handle their luggage for them and carry it in to their rooms as necessary. They don’t need constant chaperoning, but while they’re staying with you, be available.  Whether it’s just fetching things up and down stairs or moving something too heavy for them otherwise, your assistance makes a difference.

Keep areas of the home well lit

For the guests that are going to be staying overnight, invest in some quality nightlights around the halls. Placement in the guest bedrooms and the halls near their closest bathroom can help facilitate any late-night movement to catch the actual light switch. Seniors are also much more likely to wake up early in the morning. With the longer night time hours, these nightlights will help them safely get up in the morning. Additionally, consider buying no-slip bath mats for their stay, to make showering easier to get in and out of safely. Only one set for their personal bathroom will be necessary.

Guest Writer: Haley Kieser