Preparing for elderly holiday visitors could eliminate mishaps - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Preparing for elderly holiday visitors could eliminate mishaps

'Tis the season to make preparations for your elderly visitors. (Source: WAFF) 'Tis the season to make preparations for your elderly visitors. (Source: WAFF)

When it comes to holiday visitors, most of us take some precautions when it comes to toddlers who are prone to falling.  

But what about the elderly or handicapped visitor? Precautions should be taken for them as well.

Mattie Wians is recuperating from a nasty fall at a rehabilitation hospital.  

"We had left the grocery store and we were coming back and I was helping her tote her groceries in, and I have a bad knee," said Wians. "Well, I was on the top step fixing to step onto the porch and my knee gave way and I fell backwards onto the concrete."

The damage was to her hip.  

"I knew I had broke it, but the doctor told me it wasn't broke, it was shattered. And what did they do? They put a pin and a rod in it," she said.

She plans to have knee replacement once she is well.  

Mattie's case is similar to others where an elderly visitor gets hurt during the holidays.

There are all sorts of hidden dangers in your home. The idea is to prepare your home for an elderly person or handicapped individual the same as you would a toddler."

Thomas Grier is the chief development officer for Restore Therapy Services. He says most of the preps are simple.

"Some people love to have rugs and electrical cords in certain areas of their home," Grier said. "They need to secure the rugs or remove the rugs altogether."

He says make sure the visitor can touch the floor as they sit on the side of a bed.   

"The last thing they need is to stand up. They lose their balance and then they fall. Another thing is medications: If the elderly is taking medications that's new to them... can have a change in their balance," he said.

Grier is also a registered nurse and says there is no substitute for pre-planning.   

"Just have a small bell so if they have trouble... they can certainly ring the bell to get your attention. You want to make sure if they are accustomed to having a cane or walker, its best for them to have their appliance in place, versus furniture surfing throughout the house."

By making some simple changes you and your guests can have a safe holiday visit.  

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