It’s time to ring in the holiday season and what a season it’s been! Like most events this year, the 2020 holidays are likely to be very different than your traditional celebrations. The holidays can be a challenging and isolating time for seniors, but this is particularly true right now as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Festive activities and family time have been replaced with concerns over social distancing and safety protocols. Whether you’re choosing to have a small gathering or changing your annual festivities completely, you can still bring a smile to the face of your senior loved one with some creativity and a dose of safety measures.
It’s important to keep in mind that anytime you gather with people outside of your immediate household, the risk of infection increases for everyone. If you plan to get together with loved ones for the holidays, particularly those who are most vulnerable, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- Agree on some ground rules in the time leading up to the event. For example, attendees may want to quarantine in the week leading up to the celebration.
- Outdoor activities are best, but if that’s not possible and you need to be inside, increase ventilation by opening windows and doors as much as you can.
- Limit the number of attendees as much as possible.
- Ask attendees to bring extra masks, hand sanitizer and other supplies to help everyone stay healthy.
- Avoid potlucks. You may even want to ask attendees to bring their own food.
If you’ve decided to forgo a larger holiday gathering, there are still ways to make the season special. Here are a few ideas:
Drop off meals using contactless delivery. If you live close by, you can prepare your loved one’s favorite holiday meal and drop it off at their door. For those living farther away, there are many options for ordering favorite dishes through a local restaurant and having it delivered by a third-party delivery service.
Eat and visit together via video chat. Once your loved one has their special meal, share it with them over video chat. Encourage your family members to share favorite holiday memories, songs and games.
Plan a cooking and recipe sharing virtual event. Have you always wondered how to make a beloved family cookie recipe? Now’s the time to reminisce with your loved one and gather the recipes for some of those favorite family dishes. If your loved one still enjoys spending time in the kitchen, you could even have a virtual cooking lesson and make it together.
Share family photos. Find photos that represent special memories and family members. Printing and framing the photos or making a special album are keepsakes that are certain to be treasured. Many online photo services also enable you to create customized photo gifts such as blankets or coffee mugs.
The holidays are certain to look and feel different to all of us this year. There is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenge and tested our resiliency. However, a little creativity can go a long way to make the holiday season special. And who knows? Maybe some of these new experiences will become future holiday traditions. If you need help caring for a senior loved one during the holidays or anytime throughout the year, Assisting Hands is ready to discuss your needs. Call us in Maryland at 301-363-2580 and in Virginia at 703-556-8983.