12 Tips to Make Your Home Accessible for Holiday Guests

12 Tips to Make Your Home Accessible for Holiday Guests

Prepare to host everyone this Christmas including seniors and family who use mobility devices

If you're hosting a multigenerational gathering at your home this season, there may be three or four generations under one roof—and your guests might include seniors who need extra care and attention. 

Here are some tips (broken down into the classic 12 days of Christmas) so you can make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable throughout the holidays:

Capella Design Accessible Holiday - Family in the Entranceway

Day 1: Consider The Entryway

A functional entryway means less stress at the beginning of the visit. Think about adding a bench so that guests can have a seat when they remove their shoes.

A table or shelf to place items (like gifts!) will also help make the transition from outside easier.

The clutter in this area can be easy to ignore during your daily routine, so however you set it up, just make sure there is a clear path from the door to the living room.


Day 2: Rearrange the Furniture

This year, finding the perfect spot for the tree counts! Move it out of the way of high foot traffic areas so no-one trips over needles or presents.

Consider how furniture is positioned and rearrange if passageways need to be widened for mobility devices.

Undertaking last minute renovations to add grab bars isn’t usually a feasible option (more on this later), but strategically positioning furniture can help unsteady guests find a confident handhold. 


Day 3: Ditch the Rugs

Area rugs and runners are great for adding warmth to your space, but they can be dangerous tripping hazards. Removing rugs is a two for one - now you don’t have to worry about cleaning eggnog spills off the carpet!

If area rugs or runners are necessary make sure they have a non-slip backing.


Day 4: Add More Light

We all know the holidays are made better with more festive lights, so why not add a few extra to help guests navigate an unfamiliar space?

Use nightlights in bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as any other areas that could be potentially difficult to navigate in the dark. Install dimmers on lights throughout the house so they can be dimmed down for sleeping or turned on low when getting up in the middle of the night (no one should have to wake up completely blinded by harsh overhead lights).

Finally, consider adding motion-sensor lights outside if possible; this will save electricity (and money) while also making it easier for people to navigate around at night without waking up everyone else within earshot!


Day 5: Put a Shower Stool in your Bathroom

A shower stool is a great addition to any bathroom. If you have an elderly family member or friend who visits during Christmas, a shower stool can help them feel more comfortable when bathing in a home that is not their own.

The Lotic Shower Seat not only has functional features that will help guests feel confident when showering, it also comes in three modern colors that will look great in your bathroom. During the holiday season you can expect to clean more with the extra guests, but unlike other teak shower stools Lotic is made from recycled plastic that is durable and easy to clean.


Day 6: Help with Gifts & Wrapping

The pressure of buying and wrapping gifts with limited mobility can be an extra challenge during the holiday season. Offering to help with these tasks is a great excuse to spend quality time with loved ones while easing some of their holiday stress. You don’t have to take over the entire process - find out what they actually need. Maybe it’s just picking up a heavier gift or wrapping a more intricate package (how do you wrap a skateboard anyway?).


Day 7: Set up Guests on The Main Floor

A bedroom on the main floor is better for your older relatives because it eliminates the need for them to use the stairs, which can be difficult and tiring. This way they'll have easy access to everything that's happening in your home—the tree, family festivities and meals, etc.—without having to travel much farther than they'd normally walk. It also creates a quick spot where they can take a break from all of those kids running around!

Day 8: Offer Personal Heat Control

If you're hosting a group of people in your home, it is important to consider each person's comfort level. Some guests may want a cooler environment, while others are happy with more heat.

To ensure that everyone has their needs met and can enjoy themselves fully, it's best to offer personal heat control options for each guest. Have a few cozy blankets on hand in case some of your guests need a warmer environment than others. You can also plug in heating pads if necessary—or even provide an electric blanket or two! 


Day 9: Honor Family Members that are No Longer Present 

Honoring our loved ones who are no longer with us is a way to make sure they're still a part of the holiday, even if they can't be here in person.

This doesn't mean that you have to try and do everything exactly how they would have liked it, but getting inspiration from them can help you think of new traditions or ways to make this holiday special for your family members who are still around. Share stories about them with your family so everyone knows more about them and what made each person unique.


Day 10: Give Your Guests a Comfortable Seat

In addition to the obvious (a comfortable place to sit), you should also make sure that your seating is accessible for everyone. Be mindful of location. If possible, try to find areas where guests can sit together—whether it's on couches or in armchairs—rather than in separate chairs around a dining table. This will help make them feel like an integral part of the group!


Day 11: Plan an Accessible After-Dinner Activity

While you can't plan for every person's preferences or abilities, it's good to have one activity that everyone can participate in.

Whatever you choose as your after-dinner activity, just keep it simple: no complicated instructions required (and no pressure if someone falls short), short enough so that people aren't completely exhausted afterward (a half hour maximum), inclusive with something all family members could potentially enjoy doing together (but not too complicated) and safe for all ages involved.

Here are a couple of fun options:

  • Sharing old photo albums
  • Beanboozled (the jelly bean tasting game)
  • A “What/Who Am I?” guessing game (like Hedbanz)


Day 12: Research for Future Renovations

This holiday season is an opportunity to think about how you can prepare your home for the long-term.

To make sure that everyone continues to feel welcome in your space, consider what will be needed to accommodate multigenerational guests in the future. This could be as simple as increasing access to bathroom and kitchen facilities to a bathroom renovation that includes grab bars and a walk in shower with space for a shower stool.



The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, but they can also be stressful for those who live with limited mobility. It's important to plan ahead so that everyone feels welcome this Christmas season.

Remember to communicate with your loved ones and find out exactly what they need to be comfortable. We hope these 12 tips will help you to spark that conversation so you can create a wonderful holiday experience for everyone in your family! 

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