AFS Blog

Maintaining Holiday Traditions with Older Adults During the Pandemic

Posted on December 15, 2021 | by Michael Juceum, Right at Home
Maintaining Holiday Traditions with Older Adults During the Pandemic

Imagine the perfect holiday season. While that image may be a little different for each of us, holiday traditions typically include gifts, lights, food, and spending time with the people we love.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused us to rethink how to enjoy the holiday season with older family members safely. With a little bit of ingenuity and imagination, it is possible to create new memories with everyone you love, even if you cannot be with them in person.

Aging care experts have gathered some ideas to help you get started:

  • Change traditions. Think through the traditions that mean the most to you and your family and how you can tweak them to help keep everyone safe. For example, if the family normally gets together each year to make cookies, you might try Zoom or a comparable platform to stay connected while baking from home. Choose a favorite recipe, have everybody log on at a designated time, and bake away while chatting and listening to some holiday music.

  • Don’t do away with decorating. Older people who live alone usually look forward to having family, specifically grandchildren, visit to help with holiday decorations. Without in-person visits, older adults might not bother with decorations. Again, using a program like Zoom, set up a time for the whole family to get together online and share the stories behind treasured decorations.

  • Enjoy the wonderful outdoors. Plan short, socially distant visits outside with face coverings if the weather allows. 

  • Send smiles. Pictures, letters, cards, small gifts, telephone calls, etc., will mean a great deal to folks who are missing time with family and friends. Coordinate to take turns reaching out in ways like this so that loved ones are overwhelmed with expressions of love.

  • Share your feelings. There is nothing quite as heartwarming as hearing from someone you love about the impact you have made on their life. Take time to express your thankfulness to the older adults for the difference they’ve made, and be specific: “Grandpa, your patience with me when I was a teenager taught me what unconditional love looks like, and because of you, I am a far more patient person with my children.”

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