The holidays will probably look different for you this year due to COVID-19. Many families are choosing to host virtual celebrations so they can physically distance themselves. Others are sticking to small gatherings with their closest loved ones. However you choose to celebrate the holiday season, it’s important to protect your elderly relatives from respiratory infections, the common cold and the coronavirus.
Below are some tips on how to celebrate a healthy 2020 holiday season with older relatives.
Agree on Some Ground Rules
If you choose to get together with loved ones, make sure everyone is on the same page. Regardless of what our personal beliefs are in regards to the virus, it’s our responsibility to protect vulnerable populations. To be really safe, everyone should quarantine for two weeks before seeing each other.
Host Outdoors When Possible
Depending on where you live, hosting an outdoor holiday celebration may not be practical. But it’s still worth aiming for. So far, the weather has been relatively mild throughout much of the country, so you may be able to bring the festivities outdoors. If you have to stay inside, at least increase the ventilation by opening doors and windows.
Follow the CDC’s recommendations. Gatherings with more people increase the risk for COVID and other illnesses. The safest way to celebrate the 2020 holidays are by attending virtual-only events or celebrating with those in your immediate household. If you are with people from other households, maintain a 6-foot distance, wear masks and wash hands frequently.
Take Advantage of Technology
Many older adults are comfortable using technology, particularly if they reside in assisted living. Try to utilize this technology as much as you can this holiday season. You may even want to gift an older relative a device to help them out such as a new phone or Alexa. As an example, they can use FaceTime to watch the grandkids open their gifts or use Alexa’s “Drop In” feature to visit with loved ones.
Use Contactless Delivery
Many restaurants, grocery stores and catering services are offering pre-cooked holiday meals. Find one that will be willing to deliver a holiday meal to your loved one’s door. This way, they’ll have everything they need to prepare a holiday dinner. You can also have groceries and other essentials delivered to their door to avoid long lines and crowded stores.
Have Enough Supplies on Hand
Finally, make sure you have the necessary supplies on hand if you plan on family coming over. You should have plenty of masks, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, hand soap and disposable hand towels. Set up chairs 6 feet apart and avoid buffet-style meals where everyone touches the same spoons.
Stay Safe this Holiday Season
While this may sound like a lot of work for the holidays, these tips will keep you and older relatives safe. While we are closer to a vaccine and know more about the treatments available for coronavirus, hospitals and doctors’ offices are still filling up. It’s not a good time to be sick with anything, even the common cold. For more information on safe holiday celebrations in 2020, visit the Centers for Disease Control.