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It’s hard not to enjoy the sparkling lights, holiday decorations, festive music, and all the holiday season offers. Although good times, laughter, and cheer are the plan, seniors are at a greater risk for falls during the holidays due to various factors.

Holiday season fall risks:

  • Daylight savings time: change in the number of daylight hours; poorly lit areas
  • Furniture set up, or placement is changed to accommodate decorating. Change in customary ambulation, movement pathway
  • Decorative items can become a trip hazard due to size and shape
  • Electrical cords used to light decorations can be a trip hazard

In addition to seniors being at a greater risk for falls, the holiday season also brings a condition called Holiday Heart Syndrome. Holiday heart syndrome is most likely to occur in individuals with known risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, and obesity. Changes in diet and lifestyle can be extreme
over the holiday season, and overindulgence can strain the heart and lead to a heart attack.

Weight gain due to the consumption of holiday foods can build up fatty plaques in the blood vessels, and stress brought on by the holidays can strain the heart. Be sure not to ignore the warning signs, as chest pain can be passed off as indigestion, and dizziness can be mistaken for fatigue and potentially lead to loss of balance and falls.


  • One out of four older adults will fall each year
  • One out of every five falls causes fractures or head injuries
  • More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling sideways
  • Women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures

Safety tips:

  • Declutter pathways to ensure safe pathways for mobility
  • Enjoy the signs and sounds of the holiday season with lights on. Maintain well-lit areas and clear of decorative items that create hazards
  • Strive to maintain healthy eating habits
  • Listen to your body and don’t ignore warning signs
  • Maintain regular medication and sleep schedules. Altering medications and/or sleep schedules can cause dizziness that can lead to stability problems during mobility
  • Holiday decorations that require electricity should be placed near outlets, minimizing the potential for trip hazards
  • Enjoy the beautiful holiday decorations but be mindful of decorations that can potentially lead to falls in seniors

Let’s do our part and give our seniors the opportunity for a wonderful holiday season by
staying mindful of potential fall risks and other related holiday health concerns.

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