One thing many families are missing the most during the COVID-19 pandemic is EACH OTHER. Now that restrictions have been lifted and businesses are reopening, many families are coming together again and visiting with grandparents. Complete self-isolation is the only way to currently avoid getting ill. But many of us desperately need to connect with family—even if it is just for an afternoon. While the pandemic has taken a toll on everybody, isolation is an issue that really affects older adults. One of the greatest joys for older people is seeing younger people in their lives and enjoying their company.
It’s a tricky balance because the connections we have with family and friends can enrich (and even prolong) our lives. However, right now, seeing loved ones means you’ll need to interact with people you haven’t seen in weeks possibly. Or their isolation environment is different than yours. You must decide whether it’s worth the risk. But when it comes to brainstorming ways to minimize that risk, we can help.
Here are some ways to visit with your family and minimize your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Ways to Minimize Risk
- Get tested. It’s better to know than to not know. When families get tested, it can bring peace of mind. If you walk into any MainStreet Family Care clinic, we can administer the viral infection test (swab) as well as the antibody test. You’ll receive your results in 3-7 days. Since there is no vaccine yet, this will give you and your family the information you all need before you get together for a family gathering—even if it is just for a few hours.
- Meet outside. Maybe you all usually gather around the dining room table on a Friday night. Try moving the gathering outdoors. Creating more space for everyone and being outdoors where there is plenty of fresh air will lessen the risk. At the same time, it will provide everyone enough room to utilize as much personal space as they need.
- Wear masks.
- Try to resist the hugs and kisses. Please remember, even though getting tested provides peace of mind, it is only one of many layers of prevention. By resisting those hugs and kisses we miss so much from family, we can reduce the chance of illness.
- Consider the risk. Until there’s a vaccine, the most vulnerable people should consider staying at home if they can. If someone in your family is likely to become severely ill, try to encourage them to take as many precautions as possible. You can help prevent the spread of illness to them by taking precautions yourself.
- Most importantly, make sure family visits are a shared choice. Talk with family members. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Make sure you inform others of your isolation/stay-at-home routine, and you learn about what other family members are doing. Be sure everyone knows that you’re just trying to keep each other safe and protect one another from COVID-19.
At the end of the day, many families are missing each other the most during the COVID-19. And that is even more of a reason to take care of each other the best ways that we know how.