As the holidays approach, many of us will soon begin to prepare for overnight guests.

In most cases, that means clean sheets and fresh towels, but if you’re hosting an elderly parent or relative, safety is also something that could use a fresh perspective.

With three decades of experience creating environments where people can age in place and thrive despite physical challenges, we’re here to offer what we hope will be helpful advice.

As you prepare for holiday guests of an older age, consider these adjustments to your guest bedroom and bathroom:

Pop up some extra lighting

It’s common for anyone staying in a new environment to look and feel for light switches when they enter a room. Entering an unfamiliar darkened room presents a challenge for anyone, but it’s even greater for an aging adult with failing eyesight, or mobility issues. Make it easier on these guests by shedding some new light on their space. Reasonably priced motion sensor lights are available, and you can also place a nightlight in the bathroom your guests will be using to light their way in the middle of the night.

Make sure your bathroom can meet the needs of your guests

It can be difficult for older people to step into a bathtub, and you certainly don’t want anyone to fall trying to do it. A temporary bathtub seat bench is easy to install and will allow your guests to sit and hang onto something while entering the tub. If you have a walk-in shower, consider a shower bench and a hand-held shower head for stability, safety, and ease. And this Stander Security Pole & Curve Grab Bar is easy to install and has multiple functions.

Prepare for guests with sensory issues

If someone at your table this holiday season has Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, they may have sensory issues. Here are a couple things you can do to make guests more comfortable in your home and prevent difficult challenges for them:

  1. Remove mirrors, especially at the bottom and top of stairs and over the sofa. People with Alzheimer’s remember themselves as a younger person, so they think the person in the mirror is an intruder. They could potentially hit the mirror and cause injury. It’s okay to keep your necessary bathroom mirrors.
  2. Change out pieces of art with photos of people and places. Photos spark memories, which is helpful and comforting.

Remove tripping hazards

  1. Remove throw rugs
  2. Avoid floor clutter, like magazines, boxes, and other items
  3. Make sure electrical cords haven’t become tripping hazards
  4. Be aware of where your pets are and keep them from getting under foot

If you have questions on making your home safe for older guests, we would love to talk with you! Enjoy your holidays with family and friends!