The holiday season is quickly approaching, and this year’s celebrations will look much different than in the past. The COVID-19 pandemic will require some adaptations of family traditions and expectations, especially for families with older adults or loved ones at higher risk for contracting the virus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you check the COVID-19 rates for your local community before deciding whether to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas in person, postpone get-togethers, limit the number of attendees, or celebrate virtually.

It recommends that the following groups of people avoid in-person gatherings around the holidays: Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 within the past 14 days; those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are still in the quarantine phase; those who are waiting for coronavirus test results; and those who have underlying conditions that put them at increased risk for COVID-19.

According to the CDC, outdoor gatherings pose less risk than indoor get-togethers, and limiting the time span of gatherings also lowers the risk.

Should you plan to visit with others, one of the safest ways to plan for holiday celebrations with people who don’t live in your household is to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to the event, the CDC recommends. Additional safety precautions call for those attending holiday get-togethers to be sure to get a flu shot in advance of the gathering.

In addition, get-togethers are safer if all of the attendees live in the same geographical area and if those in attendance have practiced social distancing and worn masks while in public during the preceding days and weeks. And adhering to precautions of wearing masks and washing hands frequently are recommended during the gatherings. Also, when in person, minimize handshakes and hugs, and avoid singing or shouting within 6 feet of others unless you’re wearing a mask.

It can be helpful, the CDC says, for hosts to provide hand sanitizer and face masks for attendees. 

CDC recommendations related to preparing and serving food during holiday gatherings include the following: Wear a mask while preparing and serving food; make sure everyone washes their hands or uses hand sanitizer before and after preparing, serving and eating food; and to use single-serve and disposable items whenever possible.


Home for the Holidays Panel

Are you wondering if your loved one is starting to need the extra support of a senior living community? Check out our free webinar Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. EST. Hosted by Melissa Lee, the panel discussion will feature residents, senior living experts and family members. 

The discussion will cover the following:

  • What signs to look for when visiting with your loved ones
  • How and when to make the decision to get support for your family member
  • Deciding when making the move to senior living is right for you

To register for this webinar, visit Home for the Holidays webinar.


Download The Arbor Company Guide

Be sure to download The Arbor Company Home for the Holidays guide, which offers a comprehensive look at celebrating the season with an older adult, choosing the right gifts and making decisions about the right type of care for aging loved ones. 


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