The holidays can be stressful enough for seniors, with the bustling activity and the added pressure of gifts and social events. Include the extra worry of Covid-19 to that, and it is very likely to add an increased level of strain and worry to the season. This time of year is heavily focused on spending time with family, shopping for gifts, and annual parties. All of which place seniors at a higher risk of coming into contact with the coronavirus.
Nobody wants to be alone on the holidays, but maintaining safe social distancing is an essential safety measure for seniors. It is no secret that the detrimental effects of Covid-19 are generally felt more profoundly in older adults. Being in the highest risk age group, seniors need to take extra precautionary measures to prevent exposure to the virus.
This may include sacrificing traditional holiday plans to make way for a modified version of events to optimize health and safety. However, staying safe doesn’t have to mean social isolation or no opportunities for fun. It will just take a little planning and reworking to navigate through an uncertain and unconventional holiday season.
Tips for Seniors and Caregivers This Holiday Season
While senior safety is a top priority this year, providing older adults with some joy and happiness is also a prime concern. A balance of safety and enjoyment can be achieved with a few helpful tips and suggestions.
- Take advantage of technology
- Plan events within social bubble
- Run errands
- Keep it simple
- Online gifts
- Monitor for symptoms
- Focus on the positive
Take Advantage of Technology
One of the greatest ways to adapt to the constraints the coronavirus has placed on our daily lives is through the use of technology. Online social platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet provide excellent opportunities for virtual gatherings. This conferencing technology offers the ability to connect with friends and family for conversation, games, and other activities regardless of location.
Family members and professional caregivers can help bring seniors up to speed on how to operate this software to stay connected to loved ones. The technology is actually quite intuitive, but if older adults are having difficulty, a family member or caregiver within their social bubble can sit with them for assistance while they are using it.
Plan Events Within Social Bubble
Opportunities for in-person interaction is still possible as long as seniors stay within their already established social bubble. Older adults meeting in person with friends or family they haven’t seen in a while is not a good idea and is certainly not recommended. However, arranging a meal or a small gathering for friends and family within the pre-existing bubble is acceptable and encouraged. Holiday gatherings will just have to be adapted this year to maximize safety.
Family and professional caregivers can be a huge help during this time of year by running errands for seniors, so they don’t have to go out into crowds. Picking up groceries and assisting with meals can help increase safety and wellbeing over the holidays.
Home caregivers can also help out with a variety of other daily tasks and activities to reduce stress and improve senior comfort.
Keep it Simple
Elaborate holiday events and activities are not a practical option this year, so it is advisable to keep things as simple as possible to keep risks at a minimum. Sending greeting cards is a great way to let elderly relatives know you are thinking of them over the holidays.
Online greeting cards and gift certificates are a safe and easy option for seniors to send friends and family to avoid going out to brick and mortar stores for gifts. Caregivers can assist older adults that may not be so technically savvy.
Monitor for Symptoms
Senior caregivers should be vigilant about monitoring for Covid symptoms throughout the holiday season. At the first sign of infection or illness, it is important to reach out to a doctor or healthcare professional for diagnosis.
Focus on the Positive
2020 has been a stressful and difficult year for a lot of people around the globe. Focusing on the positive can help remind seniors of the many things they can still be thankful for in these trying times.