How to Cope Through the Holiday Season – Part I
The holidays are never a completely stress-free time – and this year, they are particularly challenging for loved ones separated by the pandemic.
While nothing can replace spending the holidays with family, the truth is that COVID-19 still presents a clear and present danger to vulnerable Americans, including residents in long term care communities.
The dedicated health care professionals in these facilities are doing everything they can to keep residents safe. They view this as a sacred duty, and many of them come to see their residents as members of their own family.
But they can’t do it alone. It’s up to the community and residents’ families to help ensure their safety during this busy season.
Some things to keep in mind for families with loved ones in long term care:
- Taking a loved one out of a nursing home or assisted living community could be dangerous, especially for family gatherings with COVID running rampant across the country.
- Your loved one may need more round-the-clock care than you can provide at home, and unnecessary trips to the hospital could increase their risk of exposure.
- Even though you and family members in your household may feel fine, more than half of people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Family members could inadvertently infect their loved ones.
It may be difficult not to see a parent or grandparent in person. Thankfully, there are innovative ways long term care staff can help you connect with your loved one despite the distance:
- Video calls: Use a video conferencing platform like Zoom, Skype or Google Meet to get some face-to-face time with your loved one. (We’ve put together these festive backgrounds to use for Thanksgiving!)
- Drive-by visits: Organize a drive-by, socially distanced greeting and wave to your loved one from your car.
- Explore options: Reach out to your loved one’s long term care center to see if there are any other ways families can connect with residents, either safely in person or virtually.
- Contribute to a local long term care center: Celebrate the season of giving by donating gifts for residents or PPE and feel-good items to staff.
It’s important that the families of long term care residents prioritize their loved one’s safety over feelings of guilt. Giving up seeing each other in person this year may be the reason you are able to visit next year – and that’s something to be thankful for.