Traditions are integral to the holidays, but this year’s celebrations will look far different than in years past. Large get-togethers that incorporate gift exchanges and holiday feasts are on hold for now, due to social distancing guidelines. Many new cases of covid-19, or coronavirus, have been traced back to small-group gatherings. So, along with the usual chance for contracting the flu at this time of year, holiday interactions are rife with risk—especially among seniors.
While it may seem as though Ebenezer Scrooge had a hand in this, the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention come in response to a recent uptick in the numbers of confirmed covid cases. In fact, nearly every state, including South Carolina, has seen more than 25 new cases per 100,000 people daily, due to unchecked community spread.
But the news is not all doom and gloom. It is possible to find comfort and joy this holiday season while keeping yourself safe at the same time. Try some of these socially-distanced (and creative) alternatives:
How Seniors Can Social Distance During the Holidays
Since seniors are considered a high-risk group, the safest bet for seeing friends or family this holiday season is via virtual visits. Setting up a Zoom or Facebook event will allow you to see your children and grandchildren at a distance. To make it special, treat it as you would an in-person gathering. Dress up in a favorite holiday sweater, pour yourself a glass of something bubbly, and munch on your favorite holiday snacks. Some families have even gone so far as to prepare the same meal and enjoy it together via the computer.
Depending on the weather, you may also consider socially-distanced outdoor gatherings. While not as safe as virtual visits, they can still reduce risk while allowing friends or family members to get together. Just follow these rules:
- Keep the numbers of members from different households to a minimum.
- Include only as many guests as can be safely seated at least six feet apart.
- Wear masks when not eating or drinking.
- Encourage safe hygiene by providing hand sanitizer or an accessible hand washing station.
- Finally, as tempting as it may be to hug or kiss your grandchildren, postpone any physical contact this year.
Small Indoor Gatherings
The CDC recommends that older people or those with chronic health conditions avoid spending time indoors with anyone outside their own household or covid “bubble.” Should you decide to celebrate indoors, it is recommended that you keep groups to 10 people or less, and that all guests quarantine for at least 14 days prior to the event. Another option is to ask guests to take a covid test and quarantine after the results are back. However, false negative results are possible, so while testing may help reduce the risk, it will not eliminate it entirely.
Celebrate the Holidays While Social Distancing
Your friends at Cumberland Village understand that the holidays may be a bit more challenging this year. But with a little planning, it is possible to celebrate while at the same time protecting yourself from the coronavirus. Virtual visits, outdoor get-togethers, and small indoor gatherings with all the recommended safety precautions in place can create a festive mood and ensure a healthy start to the new year.