(But not too much…)
Christmas. Love it or hate it, we think it has a huge plus side. Sure, it’s a time of cheesy music and over-indulgence, but it also comes with a sprinkling of something rather special: it’s a time that people reconnect.
Families come together.
It may be fleeting, but most people get a chance to spend some quality time with family or friends over the Christmas period, even it is just by text message, phone or face-time call. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to visit others this year, or perhaps people are visiting you. There’s plenty of time for that emergency bathroom clean-up and the purchase of yet more white towels, but if you’re having parents or elderly relatives to stay, there are a few other things you’ll need to consider too.
Depending on the mobility of your relative, you may need to make small adjustments to your home. Simply follow our three-step program of preparation and make sure these lovely visits go without a hitch.
Step one: Sitting
This is something we do a lot of at Christmas, so make sure there is a comfortable chair they can sit in — that they can also get up from easily. Something not too low to the ground, and with a supportive cushion. This goes for both the living room and the dining table. Allocate them a dining position with plenty of space to move the chair out from the table if at all possible. If you have mobility issues it’s next to impossible to squeeze into a tight corner when also struggling to sit. Look into hiring a fireside chair with a lumbar-support cushion, or even a rise and recline chair if necessary.
Step two: Moving around
It’s lovely to have the house festooned with Christmas cheer, but make sure you’ve not inadvertently created a stressful obstacle course. Keep hallways and doorways free of clutter especially at floor-level. Make sure banisters, sideboards and other furniture that may be used as support when moving around are accessible and not covered with fairy lights or precarious decorations. A range of walking frames can be hired if needed.
Step three: Sleeping
You may be limited on space, but no-one wants to feel like they are a prisoner in their bed or bedroom. Putting an elderly relative on a low sofa-bed may mean they will struggle to get out of it which can be stressful for nighttime toilet trips as well as simply getting up in the morning. Ensure the route to and from the bathroom is clear and there is support if needed for the toilet and shower/bath. Items such as bath-lifts can be easily fitted to most baths, and support rails are also simple to install.
Having elderly visitors can be daunting, but with a little planning, you can ensure they feel as comfortable and welcome in your home as they do in their usual residence. It’s worth the time and effort so you can all get on with enjoying precious time together at this hectic time of year.
After all, the only dramas at Christmas should be on the TV, and the only accidents should be mistaking an orange cream for a toffee penny. But don’t even joke about that…