Changing seasons. Family Gatherings. Time with family and friends. These are all ideas that come to mind when thinking about the holidays.
Even though this year’s plans will probably look a little different because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean that the holidays can’t be fun, exciting and joyful. There might even be new traditions created to address the need for social distancing that work so well you will keep them going for years to come.
Looking Ahead to the Holidays
One of the reasons there is so much anticipation around the end of the year is because so many of us look forward to the holidays and time spent with family and friends. This becomes increasingly important with our ageing loved ones.
Given the need for distance, especially as the flu season approaches, having some tips to make things a little easier is a great way to navigate our unusual upcoming holiday season. We have provided suggestions for enjoying a safe and relaxing holiday season this year.
The best way to ensure a fun and enjoyable holiday season is to start planning now and to remember to be flexible. We’ve all learned over the past few months how important flexibility and creativity are when handling events.
Prepare for the possibility that this year the holidays might look different. Try to communicate that early with your senior loved one and family members. Start imagining and planning opportunities to create holiday activities that are socially distant but still lasting memories.
Give Grace, Give Space
This year remember to give yourself a little grace. These are challenging and difficult times for everyone and that includes you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make everything perfect when so much is different from previous years. It’s ok to scale back in some areas.
The important part of the celebrations isn’t about things or the location. The most important part is getting a chance to spend time with the people who matter the most.
Start thinking of the parts of the holiday that feel most important to you, your family, and your senior loved one. Give yourself the time and space to experiment with new ways to approach those traditions. Don’t place too much emphasis on perfection. There are many ways to show up for your senior loved one and your family without necessarily being in the same place.
Fun Socially Distant Holiday Activities
Take a Holiday Family Photo
Maybe you normally take those holiday photos first thing in the morning? Or is it taken right after dinner? This year might not have all of the same people together but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a special family photo with your senior loved one. Here’s a chance to really get creative.
Have everyone wear a special t-shirt, or pajamas. Get really silly with matching headbands or Groucho Marx glasses. If you can’t get together safely in one place, have everyone share a themed selfie, maybe in their holiday attire or next to their favorite holiday decorations.
Make a Slideshow
Sometimes we forgot that a big part of creating new memories is reliving those great past memories. Make a slideshow with pictures from the past year, or pull out those photo albums and scan in older pictures.
Add a couple of shared favorite songs and you’ve created a great little capsule of the past that will be easy and meaningful for you to share and enjoy right now with your senior loved one.
Schedule a Group Call
We’re all learning how to do video conferencing. Now we can put those skills to work for the holidays. The wonderful thing about technology is that it gives us an opportunity to see loved ones in a way we might not otherwise.
You can still maintain ties and see each other even when we can’t be physically close. Help your loved one join in on these video calls to show them the family is still connected.
Have a Movie Night
Is there a movie that everyone gathers to watch at the holidays? Schedule a time and watch together online by scheduling a movie viewing party. This is a great way to maintain a tradition in a safe socially distant way. You can share those laughs and sweet moments together and you can do it in a way that keeps your senior loved one comfortable and safe.
Don’t Forget the Treats
If there’s a cookie recipe that says it’s the holidays then make that recipe and send it along. Don’t feel like you have to give up on every aspect of the holidays just because this year is different.
Check with your shipping carrier for best practices on sending foods. Remember to give yourself enough time for everything to get to the destination on time.
Embracing a New Normal
This year’s holidays will look different. That’s ok because different doesn’t have to mean lesser. There will still be ways to connect and share positive memories with your loved ones even from a distance.
Knowing that your loved one is being cared for takes some of the stress of the holidays off of your plate. Kensington Park is committed to our promise that your loved one will be cared for even when you’re not able to be nearby.
We understand how important celebrations and traditions are to you and your loved ones. We want to make sure that you are able to continue to share special times together, especially with socially distant holiday activities that maintain safety without compromising on fun.
You are already taking those first important steps to ensuring holiday success by starting your research, planning ahead, and thinking about what you can do to prepare for a festive socially distant holiday season.
Recommended Additional Reading:
- How Can Family Members Best Prevent Falls for Seniors?
- Assisted Living: Committed to the Safety of Your Loved One During COVID
- Late-Stage Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving