Over the hills and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. While this rhyme may describe an annual Thanksgiving ritual, this year, due to the pandemic, routines are in flux. With rising COVID cases in different regions of the county, it’s important for families to take precautions if they decide to spend the holidays together. Because seniors are at higher risk for complications from the coronavirus, both due to age and preexisting conditions, it’s critical that safety is at the forefront when planning a Thanksgiving gathering and other holiday celebrations this year.
Whether you and your family choose to celebrate virtually or with a smaller, in-person gathering, the Florida aging care experts at American, Advocate, Douglas and Whitsyms In-Home Care share the steps to take to ensure the day is special and enjoyed by all.
If you and your family determine that a virtual Thanksgiving is safest for everyone, there are still a variety of ways to mark the day and to make it special for everyone.
- Plan the meal, cook, and dine “together”. A great way for grandparents and grandchildren to bond is to plan the meal together. Set up a call using Skype, FaceTime or Zoom, and make a list of favorite recipes, along with one or two new ideas. Then, on Thanksgiving, set a time to begin cooking “together.” Help younger children make a dish virtually by walking them through the steps. Take a break while everything cooks, and then come back together to enjoy the meal later in the day.
- Send a care package. If shopping and cooking are challenging for an older loved one, make arrangements to have a local restaurant or meal service deliver a meal. Plan a time to “meet” for dinner, and enjoy the opportunity to share stories from past family gatherings.
- Start a new tradition. Ask the children in the family to start the meal with a song, prayer or poem. Take turns sharing why you are grateful. Make a monetary donation as a family to a local organization. Create a special Thanksgiving toast. Make a Thanksgiving resolution, with each person citing something he or she would like to do or learn in the next year. Be creative and think about ways in which both younger and older members of the family can connect.
If it’s determined that Thanksgiving celebrations will occur in person, the CDC has several recommendations that can help everyone enjoy themselves and maintain safety.
- Before traveling. Because adults 65 years of age and older are at greater risk for a severe case of COVID-19, it’s important for everyone who will be gathering to agree to safety precautions. This may include quarantining for up to two weeks prior to the arrival date, ensuring anyone who is having COVID symptoms or who has been around anyone who has tested positive for COVID not attend, and taking a PCR test.
- Travel. Airports, train and bus stations, rest stops, and other public transportation sites are all places where there is a higher potential for exposure to the coronavirus. If you or your senior loved one must travel and be in these places, always wear a mask for the duration of your trip, maintain at least six feet of social distancing, consider wearing gloves when in contact with high-touch surfaces, and wash hands frequently.
- Hosting the meal. Having the Thanksgiving meal outdoors with social distancing is the safest option. If gathering indoors, open several windows for ventilation, allow for social distancing or wear masks when in closer contact. Greet each other verbally and minimize gestures that promote close contact.
- Food safety. Consider designating one person to serve food or sharable items like condiments, limiting the number of people touching serving utensils and containers.
- Sanitizing. Set up several hand washing stations with soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer. Wash hands frequently during the gathering and before and after eating for at least 20 seconds. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces throughout the day.
Whether meeting virtually or in person for Thanksgiving this year, American, Advocate, Douglas and Whitsyms In-Home Care’s friendly and professional referred care providers are here to help seniors enjoy life to the fullest, both on Thanksgiving and each day of the year.
Let us help by spending quality time with a senior loved one, engaging in conversations, taking a walk at a local park or around the neighborhood, playing a game of cards, or trying a new hobby. In addition, we can also help with a variety of other services, such as planning and preparing nutritious meals, light housekeeping and laundry, personal assistance, and much more.
To learn more about the many ways our family of brands can help a senior you love, select the location nearest you for additional information:
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Douglas In-Home Care – Serving Treasure Coast
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
Contact us today to learn how our referred care providers are helping Florida seniors live and thrive in the comfort and safety of home.
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661