Engaging with Senior Family Members This Holiday Season while Social Distancing
As the holiday season approaches, many families are figuring out socially distant group activities to celebrate safely with their senior loved ones.
Family traditions may be celebrated non-traditionally this year. You want to see your family, but you understand the risks in doing so. Visiting in person may not be an option this year because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and exposure risks, especially for family members who live across the country.
Engaging with family members during the holidays is a tradition for many. With the pandemic, things may look a little different this year. Here’s how celebrations can maintain the joy, but adapt needed safety measures.
For In-Person Gatherings
While many families are opting for a virtual holiday celebration, some families still plan on meeting in person at a loved one’s house. By adding safety measures, you can try your best to protect your senior loved one.
Stay Home If You Feel Sick
Check your temperature before heading to see family members. If you have a fever or other symptoms, stay home and get tested.
Keep the Gatherings Small with Some Simple Separation
The CDC recommends no more than 10 people celebrating inside a well-ventilated home. For outdoor parties, no more than 25 people are encouraged. Try to keep windows open, weather permitting, and consider using air filters to increase the airflow inside the home.
Have families bring their own food to reduce cross-contamination. Avoid having a potluck if possible to avoid handling the same serving utensils.
Instead of sitting around a big, open table, consider setting up several smaller tables for individual families to dine around. Exposure is reduced when sticking with family members of the same household. Once everyone is done eating, encourage family members to wear a face mask to prevent spread when interacting.
Many families this year are minimizing all risks of spreading the virus and celebrating remotely through socially distant group activities. If you live with a loved one who is at high risk for catching the virus, you may want to consider staying home and video chatting with your family members.
The video conferencing app Zoom has seen tremendous growth this year, and many families are using this free app to host virtual holidays.
While celebrating the holidays online can feel different, there are many upsides to celebrating virtually.
Accessible for Family All Around the World
Do you have family members who live across the country or in another country? Now it’s extremely easy for them to join the celebrations. All they need is a smartphone, tablet or computer to join the festivities and share a meaningful visit with your senior loved one.
It’s 100% Safe
For those who wish to minimize 100% of the risk of spreading COVID-19, especially for ageing loved ones at higher risk, virtual conferencing is a great tool for connecting.
Invite the Whole Family
With Zoom you can host up to 100 people on a free account. Imagine the costs of renting a venue for 100 people. Now consider how easy it is to host your extended family virtually. Organizing this to share with your senior loved one can be a wonderful surprise.
Play Games Together
Playing card games or other games during the holidays is a tradition for many. Virtual conferencing platforms provide free online games that you can play with multiple users. With a little instruction, your senior loved one can still play games with their friends and family this year.
Sending Fun and Creative Gifts For Seniors
Seniors who are at a higher risk of catching COVID-19 are encouraged to socially distance themselves this holiday season. This may mean avoiding traditional holiday parties and celebrating remotely, through mailing packages, or other socially distant group activities.
Mailing cards and gifts are thoughtful ways of engaging with senior family members while still keeping traditions alive. And don’t worry about spreading the virus through the mail, because experts have said that transmission through mail is extremely low.
Below are some fun examples of gifts and activities you can share with your elderly loved one while keeping risks minimal:
- Send a Care Package: Include their favorite baked goods, self-care items, puzzles, and movies. Be sure to also include a hand-made note or holiday card.
- Make Them a Photo Album: Organize old photos by scanning and printing them into a nice book to share with family members. Or create a shareable ebook to email out to the entire family easily.
- Make a Home Movie: Video chatting is a nice way to see and talk with your loved one, but making a movie can be even nicer. Give your loved one an update on your home and family. Give them a virtual tour of your house and share stories with them. They can play the movie anytime they want.
Or perhaps you have old VHS home movies? Digitize your old movies and send them as a DVD.
- Study Your Family’s Genealogy: Use a genealogy website such as Ancestry or Geneaology.com and share it with your loved one. These fascinating websites can help you all learn about your family’s past and give your senior loved one a chance to share stories about family history.
The Kensington Promise
The health and safety of your loved one is the most important thing this holiday season. Whether your loved one lives at home, or at The Kensington, there are plenty of thoughtful ways to celebrate holiday traditions safely this holiday season.
The Kensington is keeping our steadfast promise to provide a COVID-safe environment for your loved one while celebrating the holidays this season.
We are strictly adhering to the New York Department of Health Safety Plan and frequently test both staff and residents for COVID-19.
During these times, we are putting in place extra safety precautions to allow for safe visitations for our residents.
Are you planning on visiting a loved one at The Kensington this holiday season, mailing a gift, or video chatting? Please reach out to see how The Kensington can best accommodate you and your loved one this holiday season.
Recommended Additional Reading:
- The Challenge of Caregiving for Aging Parents
- Senior Safety: Planning Ahead Before a Health Scare
- Post-Acute Care After a Hospital Visit and Keeping Loved Ones Safe