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Senior Safety During the Holidays

The holiday season is an exciting time for loved ones, even those in long-term care facilities or those who require memory care. For seniors, it is a time to be with their family and see generations of sons, daughters, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. The holidays can also be stressful. There is so much to do! Grandma has cookies to bake and grandpa has decorations to set up. You want everything to be just right, but you also want to take things at your own pace, not overstress yourself, and not put yourself in potentially dangerous situations.

Be Careful When Decorating

No matter what holiday you are celebrating this season, you probably want your home to be as beautiful and festive as possible. It is easy to go overboard with decorations, though.

In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that there were roughly 1700 holiday-related injuries between 2011 and 2015, and 1200 of those were related to decorating. These include people falling off ladders, electrocuting themselves with bad lights, or cutting themselves while trimming the tree. Stepping on shattered ornaments accounts for a few decoration-related injuries, and, of course, Christmas tree fires are also common.

The data also shows that the majority of folks who injured themselves in this way were not seniors. Most of these injuries involved toddlers, but also individuals between the ages of 30 and 50.

The most common holiday-related injury was laceration, accounting for around 20%, with strains and sprains coming in a close second. Contusions and abrasions were also common, as were fractures. 91 people suffered internal organ damage related to a holiday injury, with 19 suffering nerve damage. There were 15 concussions and 10 burns. Surprisingly, only six people were injured by electric shock.

The Holidays Put You at Increased Risk for a Heart Event

It is important to stay within your limitations and only do what you can. You may have a huge extended family, but one person can only bake so many cookies. It is also true that heart attacks and other heart-related deaths spike during the holiday season. It was once believed that this was related to the cold weather, but scientists have shown that Christmas deaths spike even in places like New Zealand where the weather is warm and summery.

While there are multiple theories on why there is an increase in heart-related deaths during the holiday season, one cause is likely to be hypertension. If you feel like there is too much to do and not enough time in which to do it, consider scaling back on the amount of stuff that you are doing.

For your family, you being there for Christmas is more important than a boatload of cookies, however tasty they might be. So, remember to take care of yourself as you enjoy this holiday season.

Nawrocki Center for Elder Law Helps Seniors Make Difficult Choices

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