Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation, especially during the holiday season. Whether seniors live in long-term care homes, retirement homes or with family members, there are safe ways to celebrate the holidays.
The human connection is an essential part of the spirit of the holiday season and it is important to stay connected, whether virtually, in person or through greeting cards and letters. Celebrations will be different with travel restrictions and rules to prevent the community spread of the virus. However, everyone can mitigate risk and work as a family to decide the best way forward.
Make reasonable and responsible decisions with holiday travel
The pandemic has forced millions of Canadians to rethink holiday tradition to mitigate risk. Most family traditions have involved some travel, whether out of province or locally. Family members in the past may have traveled to long-term care homes or retirement communities to visit loved ones, or their elderly loved ones may have been the ones paying a visit. Given the high risk of contracting the virus for seniors, these holiday traditions should be reconsidered or planned differently.
Consider mitigating risk by looking at the number of cases in the area, what restrictions the long-term care or retirement communities have and whether they are permitting residents to leave the facility or allowing visitors. And are there provincial restrictions to traveling out of province or to other communities? Yes, these are weird questions to ask in a free country but this is 2020. Elderly family members and families must take the time to mitigate the risk involved with traveling and explore all options.
If an in-person visit truly does not seem possible, plan ahead to ensure you are not spending the holidays alone. Perhaps there is a neighbour or friend that can safely visit or you can hire in-home care to help out over the holiday season. Some agencies can accommodate either shorter visits or extended stays. Specific home care companies can also provide aides to escort an aging adult to a family gathering safely.