With the holidays fast approaching, families around the country are making plans for the festive season. Due to unique events of this past year and the COVID-19 outbreak, sadly, a greater percentage of these plans are being made for virtual gatherings.
Within the assisted living communities with Avamere at Mountain Ridge, we’ve been taking great care to prevent disease spread and related risks since the very beginning of the outbreak, and continue to do so with the health of all our guests in mind. In many cases, while we know this is not ideal, we’ve recommended virtual holiday party themes and tips to our residents and their families to promote safety. Here’s a primer on why we’re making this recommendation and how you and your loved ones can safely plan a holiday gathering that’s still a great occasion for the entire family.
COVID and Virtual Parties
As we noted above, the primary impetus for more virtual events this holiday season is the COVID-19 outbreak. And when it comes to senior living communities like ours, vigilance has to be particularly high.
This is because, as numerous areas of research have shown, older adults are at by far the greatest overall risk of hospitalization or death from this respiratory illness. Due to immune system issues and others that relate to aging, seniors who catch COVID-19 are at particularly high risk of serious concerns. This makes it especially important that seniors and their families plan for safe holiday events, which in most cases simply means planning a virtual celebration this year.
Video Chat Services
If you’ve decided to go forward with a virtual event, the biggest hurdle for many families here is setting your senior loved one up with the proper technology, usually a chat service like Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. Some seniors have never used a video chat service before or are beginners with these platforms, and they’ll need a patient introduction to the basics of how to utilize them. Our staff members are happy to help here wherever possible.
Simple Party Themes
There are numerous themes out there when it comes to throwing a virtual holiday party. Here are a few that are particularly ideal for such gatherings involving a senior loved one:
- Gift exchange: Just because you aren’t in the same physical location does not mean you can’t still do a family gift exchange. This will take just a bit more advanced planning in terms of ensuring everyone has their gifts delivered ahead of time, but as long as you can pull that off, get the whole family on the video call and open gifts together.
- Stories or caroling: While parts of this won’t be ideal on a video service, you can easily make merry and spread your basic good cheer by reading stories, caroling together or related activities.
- Food exchange or meal time: Many families will also find ways to link up during a holiday meal. Others may deliver cookies or other treats to the entire family, then have them open the gift simultaneously for a group dessert.
For more on how to attain a virtual holiday party to keep seniors and others safe and healthy this year, or to learn about any of our assisted living community services, speak to the staff with Avamere at Mountain Ridge today.