A Different Kind of Holiday Season
It’s that time of year again…time for holidays, celebrations, family, hugs, laughs, decorating, overeating, travel, gifts, and much more. In an ordinary year, in addition to these ‘fun’ activities, the holiday season often contributes to added stress and feelings of loneliness for many. 2020 certainly isn’t an ‘ordinary’ year! As the pandemic and economic insecurities have impacted everyone, our older family members are especially affected.
Holiday Traditions During the Pandemic
In past years, we would encourage families to include their older members in fun family traditions such as baking cookies and watching holiday movies together. But, instead, this year we will suggest other ‘safer’ activities such as frequent phone calls, playing familiar holiday music, sending holiday cards and photos, and offering traditional holiday meals at a safe distance or dropped off by the front door.
Technology Helps us Connect to Our Loved Ones Now More than Ever
Thankfully, many of us have figured out how to stay connected virtually. The Zoom platform is waiving its 40-minute call limit on Thanksgiving so your family gathering won’t have to be cut short. We suggest you help your older loved one set-up any technology you may be using for the holidays in advance. This will alleviate potential frustration and add to the enjoyment of connecting with family. Our September 3 blog features easy to follow instructions on setting up Zoom. Digital picture frames have also become a big hit this year and are very simple to set-up. You can add photos at any time and they make a great holiday gift for grandparents.
Grief and Coping with Loss Due to COVID-19
2020 has brought tremendous sadness to many people as they have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Feelings of ‘survivor’s guilt’ is common as well as complicated grief from not being able to be with loved ones at their life’s end. Signs of holiday depression as well as suggestions for coping with survivor’s guilt is discussed in this article from the Mayo Clinic. Mindfulness and self-care are especially important during this time.
Our Care Coordinator, Lauren Magana, LMSW, facilitated a 6-week Hurley Elder Care Law grief support group earlier this fall. She says, “grieving isn’t just about sadness. It doesn’t follow the rules of the world; it’s uncertainty, anger, fear, searching, loneliness, affirmation, hope and back again all at once.” One member of the group shared her feelings about the simple joys in life by saying “I miss him dearly, but at the end of the day ice cream tastes good whether he’s alive or not”. We think this is a very important sentiment to remember especially this year as we all have to find our silver linings and simple pleasures.
Please feel free to reach out to Hurley Elder Care Law at 404-843-0121 if we can help you navigate your elder law needs or click here to download our “Helpful Holiday Tips”.