As a wise man once said, it’s the most wonderful time of the year – but for older people, the holidays can pose some unexpected hazards. If you have older parents or friends coming by this year, consider some of these helpful tips to make this silly season a safe one.

  • Make sure the garden is in shape: It’s a great time of year to sit out in the sun with family and friends. If you’ve been letting your gardening slip a bit, however, it’s time to clear away any overgrown plants and other obstacles, get rid of moss and leaves on the paths to avoid slips and falls, make sure the deck has no protruding nails – and don’t forget to stow away the hose in its reel, either!

  • Get the furniture in order: Have a look at how your interior is arranged, and make it easy for people to get around your home, with plenty of clear paths from room to room – especially if you have kids coming around, who are all but certain to plonk themselves down to play with their presents wherever they please (having a corner set aside for the children may help with that)!

    While you’re doing that, as well, be sure to check for any rugs that may hide tripping or slipping hazards like toys and power cords, especially if the rug itself is likely to blend into the floor.

  • Consider your tree and decorations: Everyone who loves Christmas loves a big tree, but it may be worth thinking about choosing a tabletop tree instead – there is less risk of tripping over cables, it will be easier to move around the living room, and your older friends or parents will likely find it less difficult to help you trim it.

    Speaking of decorations, by the way, you’ll want to avoid things like candles, glass ornaments, or twinkling lights: candles are a fire hazard, glass or similar materials are very breakable, and blinking lights can be disorienting. Instead, think about steady lights, plastic ornaments, and battery-operated candles.

Getting your home ready for the holidays can be a pain at the best of times – but if you carefully think about the needs of any older guests, you can have a safe and happy time this year without having to worry about any nasty surprises.