As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to socially distance, many of us have had to stop visiting our senior loved ones in person to keep them safe from the threat of the virus. As the holidays approach, social distancing is more important than ever. This is especially true for seniors, who are especially vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.
As a result, many seniors are facing a holiday season without visits from family and friends. Many will spend the holiday season completely alone.
If you’re concerned about a senior loved one this holiday season, here are a few ways you can help.
Send Special Holiday Meals
The holidays are synonymous with festive meals and dishes. For many of us, the food is our favorite part of the season.
If your senior loved one is spending the holidays alone this year, you can make their season a little brighter by sending them a favorite holiday dish.
Contact your loved one to find out which holiday meals or dishes they love most, and ask for recipes for preparing the dish like they remember it.
If your loved one lives in an assisted living facility or nursing home, you can deliver it yourself while following the facility’s COVID-19 protocols. If the meal is being prepared by a favorite restaurant, you can organize delivery through the restaurant itself. Include a sweet card wishing your loved one a happy holiday season, and let them know you’re thinking of them.
Record a Holiday Video With Family and Friends
One of the hardest parts of the holidays this year is not being able to gather with extended family and friends. Huge holiday gatherings are often a cherished part of the holidays, especially for seniors who have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and close friends.
An easy way to bring holiday cheer to a senior facing the holidays alone is to make a video that features family members and friends.
Organize a family-wide video recording, and ask participants to send their recordings to you via email. You can splice the videos together using free video editing software like OpenShot, iMovie for iPhone, or video editing apps for Android.
You can send the video via email as a file attachment. If your loved one isn’t versed with technology, you can call them and walk them through downloading and watching it.
Schedule a Window Visit
A window visit is a safe way to see your elderly loved one during the holidays. If they live in an assisted living facility or nursing home, you can coordinate your window visit with the facility staff.
If your loved one lives alone, make sure they know when you’ll be arriving. If your loved one has physical limitations and has home care providers to help them, coordinate your visit with a caregiver. This will allow your loved one to enjoy the window visit without the stress of getting dressed and walking to the window by themselves.
To get the most out of your window visit, you can call your loved one on the phone and talk during the visit. Bring a photo album, game or memento that reminds them of joyful holidays in the past. Reminiscing about great holidays can help your loved one feel connected and combat loneliness and social isolation they may feel.
Organize a Socially-Distanced Caroling Event
Holiday carols are a favorite part of the holidays for many seniors. Unfortunately, caroling concerts that many seniors enjoyed at their churches or senior communities for years have been canceled.
Family members and friends can re-invent this classic holiday tradition by hosting a caroling event of their own, using COVID-19 safety protocols.
You can organize a caroling event on Zoom with additional family members and friends, and invite your aging loved one to watch or participate. If your loved one doesn’t know how to use video chatting software, you can schedule a time to show them beforehand.
The holidays this year may be a lonely time for many older adults. Fortunately, family and friends can make small gestures to let these seniors know they are loved and cherished, even if it’s from afar.
Learn more about helping seniors feel socially connected during COVID-19 by reading Brookfield Senior Living’s blog.