Safe & Sound Holiday Tips for Seniors According to Lisa M. Cini

Updated on December 5, 2023

Prevent house fires, loneliness & falls, and promote independence.

Aging expert Lisa M. Cini emphasizes the importance of prioritizing accessibility, functionality, and efficiency for aging loved ones. Life-changing technologies and smart home design can improve quality of life, enable independent living, and help seniors move from fear to freedom during the holidays.

“The holiday season should be filled with joy, not feelings of sadness or trips to the ER,” says leading aging expert Lisa M. Cini. “Planning ahead is key in creating a safe, cozy, hazard-free environment, from fall and fire prevention to combating loneliness.” 

Keep holidays merry, bright and hazard-free with the following tips & tech:

  1. Fire-Free Cooking: Cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires and injuries and the second leading cause of home fire deaths during the holidays. So, spark joy, not fires, with tech-savvy fire prevention tools like FireAvert that safeguard your home and loved ones from cooking-related fires. Or safeguard your kitchen with iGuardStove, the smart automatic stove shut off to protect loved ones from kitchen fires and gas leaks, as well as provide behavioral analytics that can indicate health or memory issues. It’s also a great solution for active families with busy schedules and numerous distractions in the kitchen and home.
  2. Holly Jolly Connections: Combat social isolation by engaging aging adults in inclusive holiday activities that foster social interactions with friends and family. Or, if you’re alone this holiday season, make sure to call friends and loved ones regularly. Facetime or devices like Loop are both great for fostering digital connections. Consider a companion pet that requires no care like Lilly, the robotic companion cat, or Hasbro’s companion pup.
  3. Cozy Toes & Non-Slip Woes: According to the CDC, over 14 million adults over the age of 65 fall each year. So, make sure all polished floor surfaces are covered and step into the season with anti-slip tiles, cozy rugs with non-slip mats and well-fitting shoes. Shaw Floor’s Sole with SensFloor® technology incorporates a safe and discreet sensor in the flooring that immediately alerts caregivers of a fall or can simply turn on the lights once feet hit the floor.
  4. Swift Access, Joyful Reach: Accessibility matters, so avoid unnecessary stretching or balancing and make sure to place a phone within easy reach and set up speed dial for favorite contacts. Rev-A-Shelf is a pull-down shelving system, so you don’t need to drag that chair into the kitchen to reach everything in your wallx cabinet. 
  5. Motion-Activated Magic: Light up your celebrations with motion-activated lights, especially those that guide the way on steep stairs and in bathrooms with the LED Stick-Anywhere Nightlight
  6. Sleigh the Clutter: Prevent slips and trips in your winter wonderland by decluttering steps and floors. Don’t forget to organize trailing electrical wires and loose holiday gift-wrapping materials.
  7. Mistletoe & Handrails: Wrap your home in stability by installing Grabcessories handrails in high-risk areas like showers and stairs. Consider a contrasting color for steps and rails to make them easier to see.
  8. Bathroom Bliss: Upgrade bathrooms with accessible features, stylish grab bars and age-friendly fixtures like the ones from Pressalit. Consider adding a Brondell Swash bidet toilet seat, which not only helps to maintain independence and health but also adds height to help get on and off easier.
  9. Heartfelt Greetings for the Festive Season: Explore an array of wearable technologies designed to keep you informed about your heart, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. Be mindful of avoiding excessive exertion or strenuous activities, and stay vigilant about your heart rhythm using tools like an instant EKG monitor. Discover Hapbee (“Happy”), the world’s first wearable that empowers you to effortlessly experience feelings of calmness, alertness, focus, relaxation, or sleepiness with just a few taps on your smartphone.
  10. Safe Holiday Travels: Ensure a smooth journey for aging loved ones by planning ahead. Address potential hazards, secure safe and accessible accommodations, arrange comfortable transportation, and prioritize the senior’s health throughout the trip.

“Adopting these easy steps to make your living space safer will not only help prevent falls and house fires but also promote independence, helping aging loved ones embrace the holiday spirit,” says Cini.

Lisa Cini
Lisa M. Cini
President & CEO at Mosaic Design Studio

Lisa M. Cini, ASID, IIDA, is widely recognized as a leading authority in Alzheimer's and senior living design. She is the President & CEO of Mosaic Design Studio and the author of several influential books, including "Boom: The Baby Boomers' Guide to Preserving Your Freedom and Thriving as You Age in Place," "The Future is Here: Senior Living Re-imagined," and "Hive, The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living: How Our Family Makes it Work." Lisa's commitment to empowering seniors extends to her founding of BestLivingTech.com, a platform that offers a range of innovative tech products to support aging adults in embracing independence, her award-winning Amazon Prime docuseries, Infinite Living Secrets of The Werner House, and, most recently, her newly launched podcast, “What's Your Next Move: Aging On Your Own Terms.”