The holiday season is usually defined by large family gatherings with lots of food, games, and social interaction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, how are families making adjustments to keep their senior loved ones safe while remaining engaged in the celebrations? With some creativity and careful planning, you can still make the holidays a special time with socially distant family activities, and even create some new traditions everyone can enjoy.

From virtual visits to holiday cards and crafts, here are several ways you and your family can make this year’s celebrations safe and fun for your senior loved ones.

Make Every Moment Special

Instead of defining the holidays by their specific days, try cherishing every detail of the season to bring cheer to your loved ones. Whether your senior loved one lives with you, a sibling, or in an assisted living community, there are dozens of ways to keep them engaged throughout the season.

Virtual Celebrations

If visits are not safe in any form, here are some virtual ideas that will be fun for everyone.

  • Encourage family and friends to decorate elaborate cards and send them throughout the season.
  • Hold virtual visits with Zoom, Facetime, or another application where you can record the kids making cookies, building gingerbread houses, decorating, or doing another holiday craft.
  • Better yet, if you can get your loved ones the supplies, hold a craft night where you all perform the steps together safely from your homes.
  • Watch a beloved holiday film virtually.
  • “Travel” together to museums, cities, and other far-off locations by taking advantage of the free virtual offerings available online.
  • Follow your local orchestra or church pages for information about virtual holiday concerts.
  • For family living in cooler climates, take advantage of snowfall by having them share snowman-building activities or sledding adventures.
  • Create virtual photo album threads using an application such Slack (www.slack.com) to keep everyone updated on holiday events.

Socially Distant Family Activities

For loved ones living in assisted living communities, a combination of virtual and socially distant family activities can keep seniors on a full and fun holiday schedule. Frequent virtual check-ins with updates on baking or decorating will help them feel engaged all season long.

Plan a large virtual gathering on the actual holidays where each family member can check in and share their meals, activities, and plans and create a real feeling of togetherness.

As a reminder, The Classic will be allowing Scheduled Inside Visits from December 11 through December 24. Please remember to make a reservation by calling 715-839-0200.