The holidays are an important time of year for many families. They are a time to put aside the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with loved ones – sharing food, gifts and precious time together.
This year, like most everything in 2020, is looking a little different. Because of COVID-19, the CDC strongly recommends that holiday gatherings be limited to those who already share a household, especially for those who are at high-risk of complications from COVID, like the elderly. If your senior loved one lives with you, this makes the holidays a little easier. Although your gathering may not resemble holidays past, all household members can easily celebrate together.
What to do if your older loved one lives alone? Consider the following:
- Use technology. Set up a time to Zoom or Facetime. This can be to share dinner together or just to have a conversation before or after eating. If your loved one is not technologically inclined, a simple phone call to reach out and connect can be just as meaningful. Consider printing out new photos of family members to discuss over the phone, or photographs from holidays in the past to reminisce over.
- Send food. If you’re cooking, bring some food over to your older loved one. Limit contact by wearing a mask and staying outside when delivering. Many restaurants and caterers also offer holiday meal delivery if your loved one does not live close by.
- Plan a drive-by hello. If you live in the same area as your loved one, consider doing a drive-by visit for the holiday. This way you will keep a safe distance from your elderly family member, but still be able to see each other if even for a quick moment.
- Put together a holiday care package. Get creative! Put together a basket of holiday-related snacks or treats they enjoyed as a child, trinkets and ornaments, favorite games and movies that you usually enjoy together, and a photo album of holidays past, and deliver to your loved one. It can be a nice surprise to let them know that you are thinking of them throughout the season.
- Get the kids to help. Ask all the grandkids and great-grandkids to make holiday cards or pictures for your senior family members.
- Arrange a virtual activity. If technologically able, schedule time with your older loved one to do a virtual tour of a museum, watch a concert, or take a free educational course together. Finding creative ways to spend time together can make you feel connected even though apart.
While we may not be celebrating the holidays exactly how we want this year, finding new and creative ways to stay connected this year may mean everyone can all be together safe and healthy next year.
If you are concerned about an older loved one living on their own, our Care Advisors can help. A senior care expert is available to speak 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 215.371.3400.