The coronavirus crisis will force many people to modify their holiday plans. Adjustments are necessary to keep family members and the greater community safe from the virus. In fact, the CDC warns that even small gatherings contribute to the rise in Covid-19 infection rates.
Certain environmental conditions that are prevalent during the holiday season put some people at greater risk for contracting Covid-19. Coronavirus hot spots should be avoided, which may mean not attending or hosting gatherings located in communities where coronavirus cases are high.
Large holiday gatherings put attendees at greater risk for contracting Covid-19 than smaller, intimate ones. Similarly, extended gatherings pose a bigger risk for contracting the disease than those of shorter durations. Travel via buses, planes or trains further exposes travelers to the coronavirus.
Certain members of the population are more vulnerable to contracting severe cases of Covid-19 than others. Older adults fall into this high-risk category. People living with underlying medical conditions and those who live with high-risk individuals are also susceptible to severe illness.
Despite the ongoing threats of the coronavirus across the nation, seniors can still enjoy a merry holiday season. Older individuals who plan ahead with friends, family members and caregivers are more likely to experience the jolly fun of festivities while avoiding exposure to Covid-19.
1. Shop Safely
Gift-giving is an integral part of the holiday season. Certain activities, like in-person sales and promotions that draw large crowds, are extremely risky for older people because of the lack of adequate social distancing. Seniors are advised to instead shop during non-peak hours.
Holiday shopping may be safely done by bringing hand sanitizer or handwipes and using them after handling cash or debit card keypads. Wipe down carts prior to use. Use touchless payment whenever possible. Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds upon returning home.
Online shopping is the ideal way for vulnerable seniors to make holiday purchases during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Many online retailers also offer the option for contactless curb-side or drive-up pickup. When picking up online purchases at the store, always wear a mask.
2. Take Travel Precautions
Driving to holiday get-togethers is the safest way to travel. When commercial and public transport are the only options, seniors are advised to travel during non-peak hours. Consider hosting events during days of the week when fewer people travel in order to limit possible exposure to the coronavirus.
Upon the arrival of guests, avoid hugs. Instead, safely welcome loved ones with hand waves, verbal greetings, or air hugs. Seniors are encouraged to communicate these expectations beforehand. Guests should also self-check for Covid-19 symptoms before, during and after the holiday visit.
3. Participate in Virtual Gatherings
The safest celebrations are remote. Zoom, Skype and other virtual options make connecting with loved ones across the country easy and convenient. A virtual holiday is expected during these unprecedented times, and a family member or caregiver can set up the technology to facilitate calls.
Get into the spirit of the holiday season by dressing up for the virtual call, decorating with poinsettias or creating a homemade backdrop. Consider virtual recipe swaps, organizing a scavenger hunt, having a centerpiece competition, or taking a family photo via Zoom.
Families that normally cook together during the holidays can continue to do so. Virtual cooking allows adult children to benefit from the advice of older parents who have a knack for prepping holiday dishes. Play music in the background and converse as if family members are together in the kitchen.
Older adults may appreciate the season’s caroling or reciting by utilizing virtual means. Seniors can send a link to the audience to whom they will sing. If in-person caroling is planned, limit the carolers to only members of the household. Alternately, opt for outdoor caroling.
4. Enjoy Socially Distanced Dining
Holiday meals are a festive part of the season’s celebrations. In the coronavirus era, social distancing will be a safety requirement at the holiday table. Although handling food is not directly thought to spread Covid-19, touching food packaging and then one’s face can transmit the virus.
During the meal, space each household six feet apart from other households. When sending holiday invitations, notify guests in advance of the seating arrangements. Avoid buffet-style presentations. Require that masks be worn except when eating and drinking. If weather permits, dine outdoors.
This year’s holiday celebrations will be different from years past, but the season will continue to be filled with cheer. Seniors, especially, should be protected. Staying home this holiday season and engaging in virtual gatherings is the best way to stay safe, while enjoying the merriment.
Assisting Hands Home Care professionals are ready and willing to prepare your loved one for the holidays. In addition to facilitating virtual meetings, our professional caregivers provide assistance with the activities of daily living. We also offer pleasant companionship to prevent isolation and loneliness.
Our in-home elder care services include grocery shopping for the holiday meal, assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming in preparation for small gatherings, light housekeeping and transportation. We also provide reliable help with incontinence and mobility (such as getting in and out of a bed or chair).
The compassionate companion care provided by our reputable home care agency is important during the holiday season, especially for seniors who live alone. Our caregivers build fulfilling relationships with senior care recipients, so that they remain social and emotionally healthy.
Families in Naperville, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Lisle, Woodridge, Illinois and the surrounding communities are encouraged to consult Assisting Hands Home Care for dedicated elder care services during the holidays and beyond. Seniors are treated with dignity, so that they continue to experience a high quality of life. Call us at (630) 352-3656 for a complimentary in-home consultation.