A Hospital-Free Holiday Season

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The hospital is never an ideal place to stay, but during the holiday season, it is definitely to be avoided.​

However, due to a number of factors, many people, particularly older adults, find themselves at risk for increased – not decreased – hospital visits this time of year. A few of the reasons include:

  • A compromised immune system that leaves them more vulnerable to cold and flu
  • The change in routine
  • Consuming more rich, holiday food that might not be conducive to a restrictive diet
  • The stress of the season
  • More household accidents due to getting down boxes of holiday décor, putting up lights, etc.
  • Increased risk of fall, whether it's due to icy conditions, distraction or other out-of-the-ordinary circumstances

Whatever the situation, there are some actions that people of all ages can take to ensure that holiday visits with the family won't have to take place during visiting hours.

  • Make sure everyone has had their flu shot: It is recommended that everyone over 65 get a flu shot, but really, people of all ages should have one. And if you have, or regularly interact with someone who has, a compromised immune system, that is all the more reason.
  • Don't take a holiday from medical advice: It's tempting to think of the holiday season as an extended snow day – the workaday rules fly out the window. But many older adults need to stick with some of their routines, including medication schedules, restricted diets, regular appointments, and sleep regimens, in order to maintain their health.
  • Keep the festivities at realistic levels: We can't all party like we're 21 anymore. It's okay to say no to one event so you know you will be well-rested and able to attend another. And it's fine to turn in early sometimes. For those who enjoy a tipple, it's also always a good idea to limit drinking to just two or three servings a week (or whatever the doctor recommends).
  • Let Others Help: Whether it's having the biggest light show on the block, or simply putting up the tree and making cookies, we all have our beloved holiday traditions. But sometimes it gets to be too much. Older adults should probably always leave any lifting and ladder work to someone else, but they should also consider getting help with the lighter decorating and other holiday preparations so as not to strain or injure themselves.

For more information about helping seniors enjoy a happier, healthier holiday season, please contact us!


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