It’s Diwali, and it’s the year 2020. While some might say this is a chance for a little happiness in the overall sad year we all have had, most elders might not agree.
The risks that come with Diwali celebrations may make this time of the year 2020 even more harmful for our elders.
From the fear of the deadly virus to the pollution from crackers, there are a few things that might trouble them and weaken their health.
That’s why, today, we are discussing the numerous precautions you must take when celebrating Diwali with your elders.
Diwali Pollution Precautions for Elderly and Other Ways to Ensure a Safe and Healthy Festive Season.
1: Keep them away from the smoke that comes from crackers.
Crackers release a bunch of harmful gases in the air. This air congestion thus caused, can lead to asthmatic attacks.
The smoke released is dangerous in itself, but when it mixes up with the winter fog and the pollution already present due to traffic in the city, it becomes threatening.
Not only is this air harmful to asthma patients but also those with pneumoconiosis (lung disease) or some problem of the heart or central nervous system.
Asthma patients should always keep an inhaler around.
Also, the particles present in the air can easily cause headaches or burning in the eyes of elders.
Pollutants like sulphur dioxide lead to a contraction in the elder’s respiratory system or problems like the pulmonary emphysema.
It is often noted that there is an increase in the patients of respiratory diseases like pneumonia, COPD, allergic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma etc. after the Diwali celebration every year.
So, keep your elders away from crackers and smoke as part of the Diwali pollution precautions for elderly.
2: Don’t let them go outdoors for a few days after Diwali.
Even after Diwali, the air stays congested enough to lead to problems.
It’s always better to ensure your elders don’t go out walking outdoors - be it in mornings or evenings.
If they had even a slight cold, cough or fever already, they are more vulnerable to becoming a victim of respiratory diseases. This can happen even if they were fully healthy just days before.
Diseases like laryngitis, allergic rhinitis, chronic bronchitis, and sinusitis become common after Diwali.
And since elders already have a weaker immune system which is incapable of fighting disease-causing microorganisms as efficiently as was possible at a young age, they are definitely at a risk.
The best thing to do is not let them go outdoors for at least a week after the celebrations, especially in the mornings and evenings, because during these times the air congestion is higher due to lack of sun’s energy.
Ask them to walk, do yoga, or whatever it is they wish to do outdoors, indoors only.
3: Do something about noise pollution.
While you can make elders avoid the smoke by not letting them participate in burning crackers and go outdoors, you cannot really control the rest of the world.
Your neighbours and other people in the city might burn a lot of Crackers, which may lead to immense noise pollution.
If your elders suffer from hypertension, then the high decibel noise may lead to high blood pressure, some uneasiness, sleeping problems and even heart attacks in cardiac patients.
There is a possibility of deafness as well.
High decibel levels of sound may promote restlessness, loss of appetite, anger and irritation in the elderly too.
One of the Diwali pollution precautions for elderly is to make sure all they use earplugs when people start bursting crackers in the Diwali evening.
It's better to use earplugs even on the other evenings around Diwali as in India the celebration begins days before and ends after a few more days of cherishing.
4: Check if they are allowed to eat sweets and snacks.
Diwali brings along the opportunity to relish numerous delicacies. Sweets - be it Laddoos, Barfis, different types of Halwa, Balushahi, Rasgullas, Gulab jamuns etc. are an undeniably important aspect of the celebrations.
You will also find people munching on snacks in excessive amounts.
For youngsters, this can be an excellent part of the celebration, but not for elders.
Elders, especially those with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, or similar diseases, may worsen their health with even a bit of sweets and snacks.
So, make sure to check if your elder is allowed to consume such stuff.
If you include alcohol in your celebrations, check for that too.
Ask your doctor the right amount of food and drinks allowed, and only then proceed.
5: Don’t let them participate in cleaning dusty areas of the house.
A big part of the Diwali celebrations includes the house cleaning activities and whitewash.
Make sure your elders do not participate in the cleaning that involves a lot of dusting. That's because, with advancing age, our tolerance for dust decreases, and it can lead to some respiratory problems as well.
So, ask your elders to participate in only light cleaning and if possible, don’t let them do it at all.
When it comes to whitewashing, see to it that they are not allergic to the smell of the paint. It might hurt your elders' respiratory system.
If possible, keep them away from the newly painted walls, unless their smell has fully subsided.
6: Make them stay away from the Diwali stress.
Although Diwali is a festival and is known for the splendid happy vibes it brings along, it may also be a cause of stress. Especially for people who plan to prepare a lot of things.
Now, while the young members of the family might enjoy this kind of stress, it is not great for elders.
Elders who have weaker hearts, or may experience headaches pretty quickly should stay clear from any kind of such stress.
As a youngster in the family, you should make sure to not let your stress make its way to your elders. Seeing you stressed may make them stressed as well.
So, stay sane and help the elders stay peaceful too.
7: Avoid meeting friends and distant family in person.
It is the year 2020, and the fear of the coronavirus is still on. The number of people becoming victims of the coronavirus is rising day after day. So, we recommend to stay indoors and maintain social distancing.
For some, this might be upsetting as Diwali and festivals like this are the only ways people meet their families in person and enjoy.
There is no alternative to in-person hugs and kisses, but 2020 is not the year for it.
So, ask your relatives and friends to stay in their homes.
Thankfully we live in a world with technology. So, use the internet to exchange gifts, sweets and snacks. And tune into apps like Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facetime, Google Duo etc. for video calls.
8: Install an air purifier or air-purifying plants at home.
You know about how the level of air pollution drastically increases every year around the time of Diwali.
One of the best Diwali pollution precautions for elderly is to stay indoors. But unfortunately, the ventilation will bring the air from the outside of your house, indoors.
So staying indoors does not quite keep the elders away from the polluted air.
Keeping an air purifier in your home, especially in the elder’s room can make the air cleaner and good enough to breathe for our lovely old people.
If you want, you can opt for air purifying indoor plants as well.
You have several options like aloe vera, snake plant, spider plant, rubber plant, peace lily, blooming orchids, areca palm etc.
All these are pretty beautiful plants with the capability of purifying your air. They will not let your elders inhale the air that’s full with heavy metals like cadmium. And thus, will assist in keeping the respiratory system, heart and other organs, healthy.
Many of these are also easy to maintain, so your elders can take care of them without stressing over.
9: Involve them in the celebrations wherever possible.
Many times, elders are ignored during celebrations.
The reason can be their age which doesn't allow them to do many activities.
Or it can be the generation gap which can create some clashes, to avoid which, the young family members don't involve the elders in the celebrations much.
The problem with not involving is that your elders may feel lonely.
Because of weaker brain function that happens with advancing age, your elders are more prone to stress and depression.
So, they must not feel unwanted in the family.
As a responsible youngster, you should ensure that elders get to play a part in the Diwali celebrations.
Maybe they can help you with a little bit of decoration around the house. They might help you in choosing gifts. Or they may help you in sorting out the unorganised stuff that comes up while cleaning the house.
Something as simple as asking them their Diwali celebration stories from their young days can help. That's because such activities will make them feel special. They would feel they have people who love and care for them.
And that’s very important because mostly because of their energy levels, they aren't able to contribute to many activities in the house.
10: Take special care if they have some disease like dementia.
Many elders suffer from diseases like Dementia. Now in such cases, and with the overwhelm of the Diwali preparations, it is possible that you might ignore the needs of your elders unintentionally.
Make sure you don’t do that. Let the whole family know that attending to the elders' needs and making them also have fun at the celebrations is an important thing. So, if one member can't take care of that, the others will.
What needs are we talking about here?
Well, it can be anything. For example, the Dementia patient may not want to take a bath or may think they have already taken a bath for the Diwali pooja when they haven't.
Do not make them realise they are wrong. Just be patient and help the elders do the tasks assigned themselves.
Another situation can be that the elder doesn't want to meet any guests. If the elder doesn’t want to, don’t force him/her. It's completely okay, and the guests will understand.
Those were the ten things you can do to ensure the elders in your house have a risk-free Diwali celebration this year.
All these tips also include the Diwali pollution precautions for elderly to ensure they stay away from respiratory or audible issues.
Yet, no matter how many tips you follow, there is a chance that your elder might fall into some trouble due to the Diwali celebrations.