Staying connected while staying safe: Thanksgiving advice for older adults

As COVID-19 cases surge locally and throughout Wisconsin, public health officials have requested people stay safe and not visit with members outside their household over the Thanksgiving holiday. What does that mean for people living in nursing homes or assisted living centers? How can older adults stay safe and still enjoy the holiday? UW Health geriatricians are offering the following tips to stay connected with older loved ones during the holiday with no or minimal in-person contact:

  • Send cards and photos and encourage other family members to do the same.
  • Deliver holiday meals.
  • Stop by to wave through a window, or have a short visit outside, distanced and wearing masks.
  • Call or video chat.
  • Plan a similar meal or activity to share during the day (e.g., make a pie using the same recipe.)

“This is a tough time for everyone. Staying connected is key to mental health, but this year we need to get creative on connecting,” said Dr. Nathaniel Chin, UW Health geriatrician. “It is really hard not to gather for the holidays, so it is all the more important to call and support older loved ones while not putting them at risk of this dangerous virus.” Watch the video interview with from Dr. Chin here (link opens in YouTube).

WAI offers a page of COVID-19 resources for caregivers here.