Open Accessibility Menu

Help Older Family Members Avoid Slips, Trips and Falls This Holiday Season

Help Older Family Members Avoid Slips, Trips and Falls This Holiday Season

Decorations, baking, cooking, shopping... We all have a lot on our mind during the holidays. One thing you may not be thinking about is helping older relatives avoid potential fall risks and injuries. 

Many people will be traveling “over the river and through the woods” to visit grandmother or other relatives this year. This may be the first time that families have gathered for two years.  As we reunite and celebrate the holidays this year, this is a great opportunity to evaluate your loved one’s home environment, especially if they are older. Are there situations that could increase someone’s risk of falls?  With the pandemic, they may have been less active and mobile, which could increase the risk of falls and injury. 

Here are a few things to look out for: 

  • Small mats and rugs can be a major fall risk if they can easily shift around. Make sure to invest in a rug that has a grip on the back or a non-slip piece to put under the mat to keep it from moving. 
  • In the bathroom, be sure that puddles of water can't gather leading to a potential slip. It can also be helpful to install a hand rail in a shower. A shower stool with non-slip footing can also help those who can't balance for a long amount of time. 
  • Is there adequate lighting? Dark hallways, stairways, closets with high shelves and outdoor steps can all be fall-risk areas. Take the time to make sure they are lit brightly with long lasting light bulbs. 
  • Winter hazards pose a unique risk for slips, trips and falls. Be sure to have plenty of de-icer on hand and a plan for snow removal. And be sure to wear boots or other footwear with tread that can withstand winter conditions. 
  • Clutter is a common cause of trips and falls. Help your relative put things away if they don't need to be out and check that there are plenty of wide pathways throughout their living area. 
  • Wearing shoes or slippers with grip inside the home, rather than socks or bare feet, is a great way to reduce fall risk. It's also a good idea to have seating ready by the door as a safe place to change foot wear.
  • As beneficial as pets can be, they can also pose a fall risk. Keeping bowls, beds and toys in an out of the way area is always a good idea. Using a retractable leash can be helpful, as well as adding a small bell to collars so you always know where the animal is.