Celebrate the holidays with a virtual event with your loved ones.

How to Celebrate the Holidays with Senior Loved Ones During COVID-19

Bethesda Health | November 5, 2020

Unfortunately, instead of eagerly awaiting the holiday season, many people are pre-occupied with how best to salvage the holidays from COVID-19.

After all, we can’t gather together indoors in large groups to celebrate the holidays, without risking a visit from the uninvited, unwelcome, and invisible coronavirus. Let’s consider what we should and can do, however, to make the most of the holidays.

Holiday Temptations

Eating too much rich food often is a traditional temptation presented by the holidays. This year, the major temptation might not have anything to do with food – rather, it may be to relax the precautions many of us have taken to keep us and others safe. Perhaps it’s been months since family and friends have gathered together. During a pandemic, the thing that gives us the most joy during the holidays is now what we are warned against.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 doesn’t take a holiday. We must continue wearing masks in public, practicing social distancing (at least six feet), washing our hands (20 seconds with soap), and monitoring ourselves for symptoms. Because it’s also flu season, we should be vaccinated and be practicing the same precautions as with COVID-19.

It is also important to keep ourselves and our immune system strong by eating a healthy diet, exercising, taking medications correctly, and managing any chronic conditions.

Can We Really Celebrate?

“Celebration” is defined as: “The action of marking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social, activity.”

With some adaptability and creativity we can still take pleasure, engage with others, enjoy ourselves, and connect in social activities to celebrate the holiday season.

Gathering Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides some holiday celebration guidelines.

The size, place, and length of time of the gathering has a bearing on the risks involved. The lowest risk is in virtual-only gathers. Risk increases with small outdoor in-person gatherings (10 people or less), where people wear masks and stay at least six feet apart, don’t share objects, and come from the same local area. As the size and geographic diversity of the group increases the danger of infection also increases.

A Virtual Thanksgiving?

A small gathering for Thanksgiving with everyone following the rules around COVID-19 might be a possibility. If not, the family could gather via video chat. No, you won’t be able to smell the turkey roasting in the oven during a video chat, but you can see and hear the people you love without risking anyone’s health or lives in the process. You could still be engaging, laughing, and sharing with your loved ones while eating your Thanksgiving dinners safely.

Shopping is also a Thanksgiving tradition for many, and thanks to the pandemic, you can also participate in new forms of “Black Fridays.” According to Mashable, they are going to be very different this year.

There will be alternative and expanded shopping days (one to two months at some stores), curbside pickups, and the prediction that prices will be slashed more than in previous years as an added incentive. And online shopping is an opportunity to pull up a messaging app and share links to special deals with your family and friends.

Decorate, Bake, and Share

If you have decorated your home for the holidays in the past, don’t let COVID-19 stop you from doing so this season. If you baked your aunt’s favorite pecan pie every year for the past 10 years, bake it again this year. Keep the traditions you can safely keep, and share the sights, sounds, and memories with video conferencing tools like Zoom.

If you’ve always watched holiday movies or sporting events together as a family, you can share in them with family members wherever they may be. You can also compete in virtual games with friends and family.

Celebrate the Holidays with Traditions Old and New

You can still celebrate many long-held holiday traditions with the people you love. They may have to change a bit to keep everyone safe, but they can have the same meaning and memories associated with them. And perhaps you will create some new traditions this year to be celebrated in holiday seasons to come.

For more tips to keep you and your senior loved ones healthy this holiday season, visit our blog.

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