Holiday safety is becoming a big issue now, especially during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and for those who are the most vulnerable. Between November and mid-January are when many families gather together and travel spikes across the nation. However, this year could be different, as many families take extra precautions, especially when visiting elderly loved ones. Whether you are traveling or not, there are some basic precautions to ensure your family remains safe throughout the season.
The Transportation Security Administration recently reported the highest number of people traveling through checkpoints in a single day since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the country to a halt. During the second to last Sunday of November, over one million people were screened by the TSA. This year, families must toe the line of mitigating their own risk and adhering to local and state directives.
The Center for Disease Control outlines some travel recommendations to consider this holiday season. The CDC notes that travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19 and they recommend postponing travel and staying home as the best option to protect yourself and others.
However, seeing family and friends this holiday season may look different for some seniors, whether you are living in the same state or a different one. You may have to consider virtual celebrations or family gatherings outdoors and arranging visits that keep everyone safe.
Although, if you are unsure, there are some questions you can ask per the CDC:
• Is anyone in your household or someone you visit at an increased risk of getting extremely sick from COVID-19?
• What are the case numbers within the community or your final destination?
• Are the hospitals in your community or destination overwhelmed?
• What are the local restrictions within your state or the county or state you are visiting?
Nothing about 2020 has been ideal for anyone, and the entire year has caused significant issues for individuals, families, and businesses. However, the risk for seniors, especially those with underlying health conditions, is high.
According to Excellent Care, Decency, and Optimal Living, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the senior population. If you are living in a retirement community or assisted living, there could be some restrictions and/or health guidelines for family visiting. Despite everything that is going on, it is important to stay connected with your family over the holiday season.
If you do travel, check the travel restrictions, get your flu shot, wear a mask when you cannot socially distance and socially distance when you can. Continue to maintain good hygiene with hand washing and hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth, and make responsible decisions if you have to delay your travel.
Whichever decision you end up making, take steps to stay safe, maintain the spirit of the holidays, and keep connected with your family. Whether this is virtually or in-person, everyone should be involved with the planning. Voice your concerns and ideas about celebrating and making time for each other over this holiday season. Social distancing should not mean social isolation.