Tips For Safe Holiday Celebrations with Seniors
It’s that time of year. The time for holiday parties and family gatherings, and perhaps catching up with loved ones we haven’t been able to see all year. It is a joyous time of year, but the Covid-19 pandemic has made us take a step back and put the brakes on large gatherings.
Families are having to make tough decisions on how best to keep their loved ones safe, especially their elderly family members, and that may mean avoiding gatherings with people outside of your own household.
This year, holiday gatherings are going to require some additional planning and a lot of communication among family members. That includes planning ways to connect with loved ones that you can’t see in person to keep them from feeling isolated and alone. Depression is more common this time of year, and will likely be amplified in 2020 because of the pandemic.
It’s important that we find creative ways to bring out our holiday spirit, especially for our loved ones in long term and assisted living facilities. It’s so important for both their mental and physical wellbeing.
If you are planning to attend, or travel to, a holiday gathering this year, the CDC has provided guidelines for how to prepare.
They recommend asking the following questions:
– are you or anyone in your household at a higher risk for getting very sick from Covid-19? What about the person or persons you will be visiting?
– are cases on the rise in your community or the area you will be visiting? Check the CDC’s Covid tracker for numbers in specific areas.
– are hospitals in your area or the area you will be traveling to overwhelmed with Covid patients?
– during the 14 days prior to travel, have you or anyone in your household had close contact with anyone they don’t live with?
– do you plan to travel by bus, train or plane that will make it difficult to remain 6ft apart?
– are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider making other plans.
During difficult times, finding joy and positivity through connections with loved ones gives us a purpose and helps us deal with stress caused by hard times.
Seniors, like everyone else, look forward to hugs and gathering around the table for food and celebrations. Even if you can’t be with them in person, especially if they are in a senior care home, there are ways you can still connect during the holidays.
– Outdoor gatherings
If weather permits, consider a small get together outside, where you can maintain a safe 6 foot social distance.
– Virtual gathering
You can connect with your senior loved one via video chat apps like Skype and FaceTime. You can also connect multiple family members together at once through apps like Zoom, Google Meet and Skye.
– Visit in a very small group and wear masks, gloves and bring hand sanitizer. Be sure to wash your hands often as well, especially when handling food. Maintain a safe distance as much as possible, even if that means skipping the hugs this year.
It’s a good idea to share any of these plans with friends and family members prior to visiting or gathering.
The moments shared and the memories created during the holidays are what make them so special. Making certain changes to your plans will allow you to celebrate the season in a meaningful way, while keeping everyone safe and healthy and providing holiday cheer to those that probably need it the most.
At Terrace Ridge Assisted Living, our residents are like family to us, and you can rest assured that our staff, nurses and doctors are doing everything possible to keep them safe. Contact us with questions or to request more information.