The holiday season is usually defined by large family gatherings with lots of food, games, and social interaction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, how are families making adjustments to keep their senior loved ones safe while remaining engaged in the celebrations? With some creativity and careful planning, you can still make the holidays a special time with socially distant family activities, and even create some new traditions everyone can enjoy.
From virtual visits to holiday cards and crafts, here are several ways you and your family can make this year’s celebrations safe and fun for your senior loved ones.
Make every moment special
Instead of defining the holidays by their specific days, try cherishing every detail of the season to bring cheer to your loved ones. Whether your senior loved one lives with you, a sibling, or in an assisted living community, there are dozens of ways to keep them engaged throughout the season.
If visits are not safe in any form, here are some virtual ideas that will be fun for everyone.
- Encourage family and friends to decorate elaborate cards and send them throughout the season.
- Hold virtual visits with Zoom, Facetime, or another application where you can record the kids making cookies, building gingerbread houses, decorating, or doing another holiday craft.
- Better yet, if you can get your loved ones the supplies, hold a craft night where you all perform the steps together safely from your homes.
- Watch a beloved holiday film virtually.
- “Travel” together to museums, cities, and other far-off locations by taking advantage of the free virtual offerings available online.
- Follow your local orchestra or church pages for information about virtual holiday concerts.
- For family living in cooler climates, take advantage of snowfall by having them share snowman-building activities or sledding adventures.
- Create virtual photo album threads using an application such as Slack to keep everyone updated on holiday events.
Socially distant family activities
If you’re a caregiver for your elderly loved ones, there are lots of activities you can perform with them at home.
It’s easy for seniors to feel loneliness and anxiety, especially during the holidays, which already can be a time of sadness and stress for some people. Keeping your loved ones busy and their minds occupied with fun tasks and crafts can help boost their mood and spirits.
- Decorate the house together or make a holiday craft. No bending or lifting required, and they can sit and watch if they’re unable to help.
- Go for a drive to look at holiday decorations around your town.
- Create a favorite recipe or decorate cookies. Even if your loved one can’t help much with the baking, just the smells and sounds of the cooking will bring comfort.
- Play their favorite holiday tunes or movies.
- Burn holiday scented candles or build fires in the fireplace to create a soothing holiday ambiance.
- Help them make a holiday card to send to a family member. Creating and sending a gift can brighten their spirits.
- Play soothing videos online of snow falling.
- Organize a holiday drive-by where family and friends can drive past the house and wave at loved ones.
Celebrating away from home
For loved ones living in assisted living communities, a combination of virtual and socially distant family activities can keep seniors on a full and fun holiday schedule. Frequent virtual check-ins with updates on baking and decorating will help them feel engaged all season long.
Plan a large virtual gathering on the actual holidays where each family member can check in and share their meals, activities, and plans and create a real feeling of togetherness.
For communities allowing safe, socially distanced visits outdoors, such as The Kensington Redondo Beach, a visit around the holidays is a special opportunity to spread some cheer to your loved ones. Fortunately, in Redondo Beach the weather remains beautiful during winter, so residents can enjoy the outdoors and some quality family time in person through the season.
Caregiving during the holidays
The holidays can be a stressful time of year, especially during a pandemic. Remember to take time for yourself, too, so you can be there to support your family.
For caregivers, check out our Kensington Konnect resources, filled with articles, videos, online classes, virtual tours, concerts, and more.
If you’re interested in learning more about how The Kensington Redondo Beach is helping seniors celebrate during the holidays, or want to learn more about our facility and care programs, please contact us today. We would love to share with you our passion for creating a safe, comfortable, happy environment for your loved ones.
Recommended Additional Reading:
- Why Care Planning Matters for Fall Prevention
- Life Enrichment in Assisted Living During COVID
- When Is the Right Time to Prepare for a Move to Assisted Living?
- Overwhelmed with Caregiving? Give These Relaxation Tips a Try