Safely Celebrate the Holidays with Seniors During COVID-19
Think about the most ideal holiday season you can envision. While that image may vary a little for every one of us, it might include gifts, lights, good food, and traditions passed down through the generations. However, what most certainly holds true for all of us is the enjoyment in spending time with the people we love. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, caused us all to rethink best way to celebrate the holidays with our older loved ones. With a little bit of ingenuity and creativity, however, it’s possible to bridge the gap and safely celebrate the holidays with the older adults you love, even if you are not able to be together with them in person this season.
Our aging care experts have collected a handful of ideas to help you get started:
Adjust traditions. Think through the traditions that mean the most to you and your family, and how it's possible to change them in order to keep everyone safe. For instance, if the family typically gets together every year to bake cookies, you might use Zoom or a similar platform to stay connected while baking from home. Decide on a favorite recipe, have everyone log on at a specific time, and bake away while chatting and listening to some holiday music.
Don’t do away with decorating. Older adults who live alone usually look forward to having loved ones, especially grandchildren, visit to assist with holiday decorating. Without in-person visits, older adults might not be motivated to bother with decorations. Again, using a software program like Zoom, coordinate a time for everybody to get together online and share the stories behind the most loved decorations.
Enjoy the great outdoors. If weather allows, plan short visits with seniors outside, safely socially distant and with face coverings. String lights on trees around the yard and decorate the front porch. If there is snow, have the grandchildren build a snow fort or take part in a snowball fight while your older loved ones watch from the window.
Send smiles. Cards, letters, pictures, telephone calls, small gifts, etc. are the perfect way to safely celebrate the holidays and will all mean so much to seniors who will be missing time with family and friends. Coordinate with members of the family to take turns reaching out regularly in ways such as this so your older loved ones are inundated with expressions of love.
Share your emotions. There is nothing quite as heartwarming as hearing from someone you love about the impact you have made on his or her life. Take this time to convey your gratitude towards the older adults you love for the difference they’ve made in your daily life, and be specific: “Dad, your patience with me when I was a teenager taught me what unconditional love looks like, and thanks to you, I am a more patient person with my own kids.”