10 Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Seniors

thanksgiving safety tips for seniors

And just like that, the time to plan for Thanksgiving has arrived! Why does the holiday season always seem to take us by surprise? Just yesterday summer was in full bloom. Today we’re suddenly preparing for colder weather, planning for holiday meals and gatherings, and prepping for upcoming travel. 

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, safety often takes a back seat. From basic food handling to scheduling downtime, we’re sharing our Thanksgiving safety tips for seniors.

Protecting your holiday mental health

There’s a lot of attention on physical health during the holidays, but what about mental health? 

  • Set a routine for yourself – With guests arriving and feasts to prepare, your normal schedule will be disrupted. But you can still stick to a routine that helps you stay focused on your health and well-being. Incorporate medication reminders, some physical activity, and downtime for yourself and your guests. The holidays are supposed to be fun, not stressful!
  • Start planning now – Even though there’s a 99% chance your holiday plans will change, creating a plan in advance is better than waiting until the last minute. Even a roughly structured day that adapts to the needs of the group will be easier to navigate than the chaos of multiple people making suggestions and presenting new ideas in the moment.  
  • Discuss COVID-19 safety with your guests – While the immediate impact of the pandemic might be decreasing, your guests may still be concerned. Be upfront about what you expect in terms of pandemic protocols. And make sure they feel comfortable asking the questions that will make them feel safe. The good news is all seniors age 65+ are eligible for booster shots, and data shows this can reraise immunity up to 95%! 

Promoting Thanksgiving food safety

Did you know turkeys account for 8% of food-borne illnesses each year? And, of course, these cases surge around Thanksgiving! But you need to be careful around more than just the turkey. These Thanksgiving safety tips for food handling can help you make the most out of the best time of year!

  • Rinsing meat can make you ill – You may think washing your turkey (or any meat) increases safety, but the CDC has recommended against turkey washing since 2005. Rinsing meat spreads bacteria, like salmonella, to kitchen surfaces, nearby food or your clothing.
  • Keep it clean – Germs are especially dangerous for uncooked sides, like salad or cranberry sauce. Regularly disinfect kitchen surfaces, hands and any cooking tools you use.
  • Thanksgiving leftovers are the best – What would Thanksgiving be without leftovers? Reduce the time the food spends in the “danger zone” by clearing dinner off the table within two hours. 
  • Store those leftovers properly – Cut turkey into small portions you can store in separate containers that cool more quickly in the fridge. And make sure you eat leftovers within three to four days to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria!

Traveling safely and peacefully

If you’re traveling for family, friends or some much-needed rest and relaxation, peace of mind about your home will let you enjoy that time away.

  • Hop in the car – Travel by car to reduce exposure to the cold, flu and other germs that are always present in crowded airports and planes.
  • Considering a vacation? – If a holiday vacation is on your horizon, don’t leave without securing travel insurance. Check out our plan options here before you book!
  • Button up your house – Board your pets or ask a friend to care for them while you’re away. Don’t forget to arrange for plant care as well! Protect your home by turning off the water main and making sure your alarm system is working properly. And put a hold on your mail so a full mailbox doesn’t attract unwanted attention.

Thanksgiving is for family, food and festivities! But the holidays are also a time to make sure everyone stays safe both physically and mentally. To learn more about secondary insurances that can protect you whether you’re feasting or traveling, call us at 800.735.2929.

image credit: shutterstock/rawf8

Pete Blasi