This article was originally published in September 2019 and has since been updated with more current information.
To say that last year’s 2020 holiday season was strange and exhausting would be a massive understatement. With the pandemic raging out of control and the COVID vaccine unavailable to most, many families had to settle for Zoom parties in place of visiting with loved ones.
Even worse, grandparents and other family members more at risk of severe COVID outcomes were forced to shelter away from loved ones, creating even more mental stress, and loneliness.
While we are not completely out of the woods, COVID concerns are easing and with the holiday season nearly upon us once again, this year’s celebrations are about reconnecting with loved ones and checking in on their physical and mental well-being. While we all want to use these get-togethers to spend precious time and catch up with relatives, these gatherings also present the opportunity to keep an eye out for noticeable changes in behavior and living conditions of aging family members. It is important to be alert to any changes that may reveal health needs and care challenges that require intervention.
Watch for these five changes:
Family gatherings for holiday celebrations can be used to make sure your aging parents and relatives are properly managing their lives. If your observations cause you concern, discussing these issues during the holidays may not be the appropriate time.
Rather, follow up on your observations after the celebrations are over. Consider discussions and comparing notes with other family members before starting a discussion with the aging parent or relative.
Despite easing COVID restrictions, if you are planning to physically visit with loved ones this holiday season, please do so safely and responsibly.