The Christmas season can be a joyous time for families as they begin to plan gatherings, continue holiday traditions, and prepare to feast on their favorite seasonal dishes. For elders, the “Holiday Blues” can cloud the Christmas spirit during a “normal” year, much less during a global pandemic. Feelings of isolation and thoughts of lost loved ones or times of the past can be a dark cloud over the Christmas season.
The global pandemic of COVID-19 creates a new barrier for elders during the holidays. You may be asking how you can help your loved one overcome this unsettling time while continuing to follow guidelines to protect them from exposure to COVID-19. Here are a few tips to encourage a positive attitude and help your loved ones beat the “Holiday Blues. “
The best way to help eliminate the feelings of isolation, it to visit and spend time with your loved ones. Whether your loved ones are in a skilled nursing facility, assisted living facility, or living on their own, there are ways to organize a visit. Many of these facilities are providing the opportunity for loved ones to visit with limitations outlined by health officials. And though these visits don’t look the same as in previous years, the guidelines are put in place to protect residents from possible exposure to COVID-19. Masks, social distancing, and prior appointments are required to make in-person visitations in most of these facilities, but family members and loved ones are encouraged to visit during this isolating time.
For loved ones who live independently, it may seem easy to drop in and visit. However, the same precautions need to be in place no matter the location of your time together. Whether you are visiting in the home of your loved one or hosting them on your own, be sure to plan ahead by creating a comfortable setting to social distance while visiting. Disinfectants and hand sanitizer can help eliminate germs and bacteria in the area and the use of masks can prevent droplets from sneezing, talking, and coughing from spreading as far.
With travel restrictions, it will be more difficult to see family members who are not local. To minimize risk, technology can play a great role in filling the void of face-to-face visitations. Many facilities offer video chats for residents to communicate with their loved ones. If your loved one is at Dacier Manor or Good Samaritan Center, give us a call to set up a virtual call! For the non-local loved ones who live independently, the same options for technology are available. Many elders already own a device that allows for video chats: tablets, phones, computers, etc.—all it takes is a phone call to teach them how to use the application. If all else fails, a good long phone call can be just as effective in diminishing the feelings of “Holiday Blues.”
Lastly, send holiday cards, family photos, and small tokens to remind your loved ones that they are loved and thought of during this holiday season. Nothing makes Grandma/Papa more proud than to share their family’s photos and accomplishments with their friends.