Here are some tips to help make sure your loved one is safe this holiday season:
- If a senior wants to use candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down.
- Check smoke alarms and test them. Good practice is to test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times.
- Remember to discuss and practice the home escape plan.
- Avoid open flames near the Christmas tree. Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
- Check the label on the artificial tree, saying "Fire Resistant."
- If your senior loved one has a live tree, make sure that it is fresh and well watered. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches, and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
- If you help to set up the tree, place it away from fireplaces, radiators, or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
- Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
- Check all tree lights before hanging them on the tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose connections.
- Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
- Make sure to turn off all the holiday lights when your loved one goes to bed or when you leave the house.
- Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.
- Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.
- Remove all wrapping papers, bags, ribbons and bows from the tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened.
Gift Purchasing and Fraud
- Use direct deposit. The mail - both incoming and outgoing - can be vulnerable, especially during the holidays when criminal activity is heightened.
- Do not give any personal information over the phone or Internet to an unfamiliar company or caller.
- Pay the safest way. Many seniors enjoy the convenience of online holiday shopping. Use a credit card as your payment option.