Think of the most perfect holiday season you can envision. While that image can vary a little for each of us, it could include lights, gifts, good food, and traditions passed down through the generations. However, what most definitely holds true for all of us is the satisfaction in spending time with the people we love.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has caused all of us to reconsider how to safely enjoy the holidays with our older family members. With a little bit of ingenuity and creativity, however, it’s possible to bridge the gap and make new memories with the older adults you love, even if you can’t be with them in person this year.
Our aging care professionals have gathered a variety of suggestions for how to help your aging parents this holiday season:
• Tweak traditions. Consider the traditions that mean the most to you as well as your family, and how you are able to change them to help keep everyone safe. For instance, if everyone usually gets together every year to bake cookies, you can use Skype or a comparable platform to stay connected while baking from home. Decide on a favorite recipe, have everybody log in at a specified time, and bake away while chatting and listening to some holiday music.
• Don’t do away with decorations. Older adults who live alone often look forward to having members of the family, particularly grandchildren, visit to assist with holiday decorating. Without in-person visits, seniors might not be interested in decorating. Again, using a software program like Skype, set up a time for everyone to get together online and share the stories behind most loved decorations.
• Enjoy the wonderful outdoors. If weather allows, plan brief visits with older adults outside, safely socially distance and wear face coverings. String lights on trees around the yard and decorate the front porch. In case there is snow, have the grandchildren build a snowman or take part in a snowball fight while your older loved ones watch from the window.
• Send smiles. Cards, letters, pictures, telephone calls, small gifts, etc. will all mean a great deal to seniors who are missing time with family members. Coordinate with family members to take turns reaching out regularly in ways similar to this so that your older family members are overwhelmed with expressions of love.
• Share your feelings. There’s nothing quite as heartwarming as hearing from someone you love about the impact you’ve made on his/her life. Take this time to convey your thankfulness to the older adults you love for the difference they have made in your life, and be specific: “Grandpa, your patience with me when I was a teenager taught me what unconditional love looks like, and thanks to you, I’m a far more patient person with my own children.”
The home caregivers at Amy’s Helping Hands are highly trained and experienced in enhancing quality of life for seniors in the home, and follow rigorous safety protocols for every person's protection. Contact us online or call us at 519.915.4370 for more family caregiving tips and to see how our services can help make this holiday season the very best it can be for a senior you love.