Celebrating the Holidays During a Pandemic

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The holiday season for 2020 is fast approaching us. Tis the season! The holidays are a time for friends and families to get together and celebrate the season.

With the spread of COVID-19, many people across the country are reconsidering their traditional holiday celebrations for Thanksgiving, Christmas and more. Your family may need to adjust your normal holiday plans in order to ensure that everyone in your family can be safe and healthy, especially senior loved ones.

When it comes to COVID-19, research has shown that indoor settings can be a greater risk for transmission. Close contact has been defined as six feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you live in an area with higher levels of COVID-19, it may be best to stay at home.

Assessing your level of risk and knowing how and where you will celebrate should be factors in determining how you celebrate the holiday season. Adults, especially senior citizens, are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 complications. This statement is also true of people who suffer with illnesses related to heart disease, a weakened immune system, lung diseases and more. Gatherings with more people can pose more of a risk than gatherings with a few people. Each decision for family gatherings is a case-by-case choice based on factors with the spread of COVID-19.

Ways to Keep the Holidays Safe

  1. Wash your hands often – It is important, pandemic or no pandemic, to wash your hands before, during and after any event. You should also be properly washing your hands anytime you use the restroom, before handling foods and touching high-traffic surface areas. Be sure to use warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds when washing your hands.
  2. Send gifts and cards – If your family decides to forgo getting together in person for the holidays, you most certainly can still send snail mail and send gifts and cards.
  3. Have a car parade – If your family lives local and you decide to not get together physically for the holidays, you can still be creative and go by your loved one’s home and say hello. Many people this year have been creative with car parades and made signs to hold as they drive by loved one’s homes. Imagine how your senior loved one would feel if you took the time to drive by their home during the holidays and made an extra effort to let them know how much you miss them.
  4. Utilize technology – We highly suggest that you involve your senior loved ones through outlets like video chatting. Most phones and devices are made with video chat capabilities. This is an excellent way to spend time together while social distancing throughout the holiday season. There is no limit to whom you can socialize with on your device. This is an excellent idea to help everyone in the family come together and ease their feelings of isolation.
  5. Gather wisely – If you decide to get together with family, consider arranging seating that is at least six feet apart. Encourage everyone to gather outside if it is possible. Even if you are with family, it is wise to wear to a mask if you are standing or sitting less than six feet apart. Social distancing does not have to ruin your holiday plans. You can still make this season festive and memorable.

If you do plan to get together with your senior loved ones over the holidays, be sure to protect them and yourself by following social distancing guidelines while you are around other people or out of your home.

One of the best ways to approach this topic of discussion with family and friends about holiday plans is to discuss the level of risks, have a plan of promoting safety and also deciding if it is safe for you and your family members to participate.

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