A COVID Christmas: Investing in relationships to avoid loneliness.
Part 1 of 5: navigating the holidays during a pandemic.
Let's face it 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but it has been especially difficult for seniors and their loved ones. While COVID 19 is not on anyone’s Christmas list & it is safe to say Christmas will not be canceled, we can say with certainty that this holiday season will be unlike any in recent memory. As the holiday season approaches and 2021 adds a new chapter in life, it is apparent that many people, including senior citizens, may find themselves lonely this time of year.
Investing in your relationships
Before anything, it is imperative to understand that investing in our relationships can be one of the most rewarding things we can do for ourselves, our loved ones and those around us. By making a commitment to our relationships, we become more informed, better prepared to help or seek help when needed and allows us and others to flex those 17 muscles that help everyone smile.
Start by mapping out a holiday plan with your friends and loved ones. If possible take turns touching base with people who are vulnerable to experiencing loneliness.
9 real actions you can take to help
Send Snail Mail:
The art of a handwritten letter plays a lesser role in today's world, even though everyone loves the feeling of getting on. Send a handwritten letter by mail or drop it off. Include artwork from the kids and maybe even a little treat.
Crafting & Baking
Seniors love crafting & baking, it's really good for the brain and helps maintain their motor skills. Try knitting, sewing, baking, cooking or make handmade gifts for the holidays together over Zoom or Facebook video chat. Doing activities online instead of just chatting can offer the feeling of someone just being there, helping you and working together.
Get the children in the action
Grandparents love their grandchildren and having children write a story or read a book to grandma or grandpa can be very satisfying and even helps Get the children to read a story to grandma or grandpa.
Pro Tip: make it a holiday classic like How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, by Dr. Seuss
Help with errands
Touch base and see if you can pick something for a senior such as groceries, gifts or medications.
Play interactive online video games with those you love using a game console, cell phone, tablet or computer. Start with simple classic games such as monopoly, cribbage or scrabble.
Love with food
Order, pick up or cook some food virtually! Like all of us, elder adults find comfort in food and helps keep their energy up.
Pro tip: place a tablet or cell phone on the table and eat together virtually.
Sing it Sam!
Gather up and sing! Get your household or bubble together and sing a few Christmas carols outside of a loved one's house. Anyone who has experienced someone carolling outside their home knows the warm feeling they get and how it can really make you smile.
Always remember follow the guidelines set by your local, provincial and federal health authorities. Pay special attention to safety precautions such as gatherings, masking and social distancing. Consider singing online if you are not sure what guidelines have been set.
Take a trip! Virtual trip that is.
Many museums around the globe are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus. But that doesn't mean you can't take a virtual trip together. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you can still explore hundreds of places of interest around the world. From Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum to Seoul’s National Museum of Modern & more than 500 other museums and galleries offer up a peek inside their doors. Google has put together a top 10 list, if you are not sure where to start.
Set up a virtual exercise program and work out together. Or better yet, have some real fun by having the kids dance with grandma or grandpa virtually. From low impact to heart-pumping dance moves, there is no shortage of youtube workouts, mobile apps and other online options for exercise.
Always keep things safe by keeping within everyone's abilities and consulting your healthcare team before starting any new exercise program.
Make a collective holiday plan
Family, friends and caregivers should share the joy of helping elderly adults through the holiday season. Make a schedule and set up different activities or meetings at different times throughout the week.
Navigating Christmas will be different this year, but by making a concentrated investment into our relationships, it can help everyone have a happy holiday season.
Stay calm, keep positive & share some love this holiday season.
We are in this together.
From Sidney to Victoria BC, Pacific Coast Health Services provides home healthcare for seniors and persons with disabilities. From respite care & 24-hour care to dementia care & advanced foot care, our care line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - 365 days a year. To book your free in-home healthcare assessment.
This blog post was done in partnership with our good friends at Lions Gate Home Care.