Senior Alternatives

Care Management and Home Care Services
COVID, Seniors, and the Holidays

November 18, 2020

For many seniors across the country, the approaching holiday season may be a lonely one, especially if they live alone or don’t have senior care. Although some Americans have begun to include social outings and small gatherings back into their lives, elders are often unable to be included due to the high risk of facing devastating consequences from COVID-19.  

Research has shown that feeling lonely seriously impacts physical and mental health. For this reason alone, hiring home care services for seniors may be worthwhile. Caregivers can serve not only as personal care assistants, but also as companions  or “senior helpers” for that much-needed human interaction, and partners for errands and in-home activities.

The holiday season can be a depressing time for seniors, even without a pandemic. Extra effort on behalf of families and friends can go a long way in helping seniors feel included. If outings are too risky, families can think about spending an afternoon baking or watching a classic movie together on TV. Many seniors love holiday traditions such as listening to holiday music or creating small crafts. For family members who live at a distance, care packages and letters do wonders. Small tokens, printed photos, even art projects from a grandchild are wonderful gifts for seniors and constant sources of reassurance that you are thinking of them and they are remembered by their loved ones.

Teaching older adults to use technology such as Zoom or FaceTime for frequent “virtual visits” has also shown to offer nearly as many uplifting benefits as an in-person visit.  Set up a day and time of the week that works for both parties to speak on the phone, so the visits don’t fall through the cracks, and so seniors have something to look forward to during the pandemic. Multiple family members can join too, and caregivers, memory care, or assisted living staff can help the residents set up the call. Even a quick phone call a few times per week can help reduce feelings of social isolation for seniors who are sheltering in place. Even if your senior has care at home once a week during the video call, it can immensely improve their spirit. While limiting physical exposure, you can still spread holiday cheer with remote gatherings, such as a read-aloud or holiday card-making with your loved one. Use the past to reminisce about your favorite things and people. Take out old pictures, sing old songs, and remind yourself what the holidays are all about. Home care providers can be of great assistance in preparing the senior ahead of time, so they are ready for the call and can participate more fully.

We hope that with these quick tips, you can help your loved one feel happy, healthy and welcomed during this sometimes difficult time of year.

 

Research has shown that feeling lonely seriously impacts physical and mental health. For this reason alone, hiring home care services for seniors may be worthwhile. Caregivers can serve not only as personal care assistants, but also as companions  or “senior helpers” for that much-needed human interaction, and partners for errands and in-home activities.

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