Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us in Oregon and beyond have had to limit our in-person interactions with older family members. Luckily, as vaccination rates increase and booster shots become more widely available, we can reduce the risk of infection. As far as traditional family gatherings, COVID-19 precautions should be maintained. Here, Serenity Home Care offers guidance on ways you can reunite safely with family members and more vulnerable loved ones in care.
Staying Safe, Staying Connected
If you’re preparing for family gatherings, COVID-19 risk assessments should be integral to your planning. Older adults are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 variants, even if they have been vaccinated. Make sure you know who will be attending the gathering, if they are vaccinated, if they’ve received a booster shot, and if they plan to wear a mask. If someone in your family has had the COVID-19 virus, make sure they are fully recovered and cleared by their doctor to resume in-person gatherings.
We want our family reunions to be joyful, not worrisome. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to minimize risk:
Use the Great Outdoors
When possible, hold family gatherings outdoors. Meeting outside, rather than inside, reduces the likelihood that one person will transmit COVID-19 to another. Plan ahead for where you’ll meet and if physical distancing will be possible. Even if you’re outside, you may still need to wear a mask depending on the state and local mandates. If you do have to gather indoors, consider having all family members wear a mask. This helps minimize risk for everyone, not just the family member in care.
Keep Gatherings Small
While we may miss big family gatherings, for now, smaller is better. If you keep your family reunion to a small group of people, it’s easier to minimize risk and ensure that everyone is taking safety precautions. This is especially important for protecting seniors in your family, who may have weaker immune systems. If you want to include more family members, consider having them join via phone or video call.
Take Advantage of Testing
If you’re reuniting with an elderly family member that receives senior care, it’s understandable that you’ll want to be as cautious as possible. Consider getting a COVID-19 test before or after your family gathering (or both) so that you can be as comfortable as possible. Many local health departments offer COVID-19 testing free of charge to asymptomatic individuals.
Communication is Key
Each person in your family may have a different level of comfort with in-person family gatherings. Some family members may only be comfortable meeting outside. Other family members may not want to gather unless everyone in the group is vaccinated. Recognize that members of your family may have differing coronavirus opinions, and keep an open line of communication to come up with a plan that works for everyone.
With some careful planning, you can help ensure that your family reunion is both safe and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Keep Your Loved Ones Connected with At-Home Care
While many of us can now safely reconnect with loved ones at family gatherings, COVID-19 still poses a risk to the older adults in our lives. If your parent or loved one needs home care services in Oregon, including Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties, consider Serenity Home Care, a dedicated and professional licensed home care agency. Contact us to learn more about our services.