Safe Holiday Greetings
We are well into the holiday season now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted a surge of cases of COVID-19 after family gatherings during Thanksgiving, and they are urging people to continue to take precautions during Hanukkah and in upcoming Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s gatherings.
Healthcare organizations are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of the virus among patients. Senior living communities continue to take stringent precautions to protect residents, who are among the most vulnerable to serious illness from the coronavirus. As we eagerly await the arrival of the vaccine, this is no time to let our guard down!
The holidays during 2020 aren’t easy for any of us. How much we want to be with the people we love as in previous years. We miss the big, bustling celebrations and gatherings, and yes, even those hectic shopping trips to the mall. Santa visits and parades are virtual, and many faith communities are practicing social distancing, or are holding outdoor gatherings.
In warmer months, we were able to spend time together outdoors if we took precautions. Now it’s too chilly most days for that! And with the continued rise of cases, in November those living in our area have been asked to limit social gatherings to household members.
Remember, this isn’t forever. The more cautious we are this year, the more likely we are to spend many more holiday seasons with our loved ones. We need to be creative! Many families are holding virtual holiday gatherings. By now, most of us are old hands at Zoom, FaceTime and other platforms.
Virtual gatherings are certainly the safest choice for our oldest family members. Of course, we may need to do a little planning to make sure they are included. Help them get set up ahead of time. Assign someone to troubleshoot and provide tech support. Hold a couple of trial runs before the big day.
For some seniors, video chatting isn’t ideal. There’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned phone call. Call often over the holidays. Send cards and letters. Remind loved ones that we are all in this together.
If your loved one lives in a senior living community, check in with staff before planning a virtual visit. Keep in mind that this is a very busy time. Staff have been working to create special, safe holiday activities and they want to do everything they can to make this time of year merry … and safe.
The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Follow all state and local guidelines as you make holiday plans.