Karen McPhail, RN, MSN
Simple Steps for a Healthy and Safe Holiday Season! The holidays are a festive and fun time filled with family gatherings, parties, decorations to hang, cookies to bake, presents to wrap, and traditions to maintain. However for seniors, the holidays can be stressful and pose some serious safety concerns. Take note of a few simple suggestions that can help one to ensure a safe and happy holiday season! Set a reasonable pace! Often times seniors push themselves too hard over the holidays and end up ill or injured! Set a schedule that is realistic, plan ahead to avoid last minute rushing, use additional resources for gift purchases such as the internet and catalogs, and ask for help when needed.
Plan for poor weather and emergencies. Ensure that you arrange for snow and icy removal for over the winter months. Do not risk injury by doing this work on your own if possible. Have emergency supplies and a plan in place for power outages, etc. A home generator is a worthwhile expense if possible. Arrange for home grocery delivery during bad weather. Suppliers such as Giant, Amazon, and even Whole Foods can be valuable resources for these times! Have family and friends come to you if the weather is a concern.
All the holiday stress can put a strain on the immune system and lead to illness. As we grow older, we are also more prone to viruses and colds. Stay well by maintaining a healthy balanced diet including fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system. Also remember to get a flu shot, drink adequate fluids, use good and frequent hand washing (wash for at least 30 seconds each time), get adequate rest, and avoid those who appear ill.
The holidays often times mean decorations and holiday clutter. Limit tripping hazards, by ensuring that cords are tucked away and that common walkways in the home are free from packages or decorations. Watch out for wrapping paper as it can be a serious slipping hazard! Holiday decorating can be a fun activity to do with friends and family members! Make it a group event to limit stress, falls, and the potential for injury!
We almost always change our dining habits over the holidays and over indulge a bit. Enjoy the season, but be mindful of dietary restrictions and take time to exercise throughout the season to avoid health issues in the new year. You will thank yourself later! Everything in moderation! Happy Holidays!