The 2020 holiday season is shaping up to be very different this year, but engagement with loved ones remains critically important for those living in retirement and skilled nursing communities. In this blog, we'll share ideas for celebrating the holiday without increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 to those you love the most.
Decorate for the Holidays
There's nothing that says holiday season like tinsel and twinkling lights. If your loved one's retirement community is allowing visitors, stop by (with your mask on) to decorate their room or apartment for the holidays. If they aren't allowing visitors due to surges and safety, drop off a few things and ask the team to decorate for you, transforming your loved one's space into a holiday wonderland. Holiday music can help, too!
Send Christmas Cards
Even though Christmas won't be the same this year, some aspects don't have to change at all. Christmas cards are so special to those living in retirement and skilled nursing communities, bringing joy that lasts the entire season while the card is on display and inspiring conversation between caregivers and members.
Tip: Include photos or a handwritten note for a greater impact.
Virtual gatherings provide all the same benefits of gathering in person without the risks. There are lots of things you can do virtually, like play games, visit, laugh, or even share a meal together. The team at Vista Springs can help your loved one get connected and make sure they can hear and see all of you during your virtual gathering.
A few games that are especially fun over Zoom or Facetime include:
- Pictionary - you can use the whiteboard feature on Zoom to make it even more engaging than it is in person!
- Bingo - You can use a website called Bingo Maker to create a virtual game of Bingo with as many players as you need. It's the perfect way to have fun with family members across the globe.
TableTopics - This fun deck of cards provides conversation prompts to ensure your socially-distanced gathering never gets awkward - and it gives you a great opportunity to learn new things about your loved ones!
Try a Holiday in a Box
A fun way to show love to your favorite people and bring the holidays to them when gathering isn't safe is to send a holiday in a box. Here are some tips:
- Think about your favorite family traditions. Is it a specific board game or card game? Include that in the box.
- Think about the foods and drinks you typically enjoy together. How can you include a nod to those favorites in the box? Consider adding a special snack or favorite drink to the box.
- Think about your loved one's favorite pastimes. Do they enjoy crocheting, doing crossword puzzles, or reading? Include a gift that helps them pass the time doing something they love.
- Consider your relationship. What meaningful items might you add to the box in recognition of the importance of family during the holidays? A hand-written card or letter, photos of your family, or artwork from your children are a few great ideas.
To make it more meaningful, ask the staff at Vista Springs to coordinate a Zoom or Facetime meeting while they open their box so you can enjoy it together.
Send COVID-Friendly Gifts
Consider COVID-friendly holiday gifts this year to ensure your parent, grandparent, or friend is able to use and enjoy them during the pandemic. Ideas for COVID-friendly gifts include a magazine subscription, a monthly subscription box that speaks to their interests (like Book of the Month or Grandbox), a Scribd or Audible membership for books on tape, a tablet or laptop, or a bouquet of flowers. Calendars customized with family photos are also well-loved by those in retirement communities.
Pick up the Phone
We get it - with all of the platforms that allow for quick and convenient communication, making phone calls has become more challenging and less convenient for those who are still in the hustle and bustle of working and raising families at home. But picking up the phone and making a call is especially important during the holidays and can make a world of difference for those who are away from their loved ones during this special season. A quick call to say hello, get a Christmas list, tell a story, or check in can make their day (and yours).
Remember, the Centers for Disease Control is recommending that those who are sick or quarantined do not attend holiday gatherings; that families gather virtually whenever possible; and that masking and social distancing are implemented during any gathering that includes people who do not live together.
To learn more about the most updated visitation guidelines, contact the local Vista Springs community nearest you. We're in this together.