Visiting Elderly Loved Ones This Christmas, Chanukah & Festive Season
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
Speaking from a New South Wales perspective, everyone appears to have different thresholds around COVID-19 pandemic safety with some wearing masks in public places and a larger number not.
The NSW statistics are currently looking good with only one community acquired case - a person working in a Sydney quarantine hotel - in the past week. This one case arose after a 26-day run of no locally acquired cases.
The holiday season is traditionally when families and friends get to spend more time together. And while the statistics look good, I recommend that when visiting elderly parents and neighbours in their homes over Christmas, that you err on the side of caution.
When visiting, sanitise your hands before entering the home, remain at a distance, offer to wear a mask, and of course avoid sharing a taste of any special Christmas morsels.
If you feel unwell, as hard as it may be, you need to cancel out of all Christmas gatherings, get tested and remain at home.
Christmas visits to loved ones at home
When visiting the elderly in their homes, it may be helpful to adopt some of the precautions being taken in residential aged care facilities.
Christmas visits to loved ones in residential care
You can visit a loved one in a residential aged care home provided that:
- You show evidence of your 2020 flu vaccination.
- You use the hand sanitiser on arrival and practise physical distancing (1.5m).
- Your visit is limited to two visitors at one time per resident.
- The visit takes place in the resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the aged care facility.
- You do not visit in communal areas with other residents.
There is no time limit on visits from spouses, other close relatives and carers.
These residential aged care precautions have remained unchanged since June 2020, and I doubt they will change until residents are vaccinated against COVID-19. There's no date for that - yet!
Taking your loved one out for the day
You can take your loved one out of residential care for the day to attend small family gatherings. "Small" is not defined, however the company you keep is defined; it includes friends, partners, couples and siblings/familial groups.
If you arrange to take your relative out for the day, you will need to give the residential care facility some details such as the location of the outing, the number of people attending, and the date. As a courtesy, give these details as soon as possible, or at least a week before the outing.
Other ways of sending your wishes for the season
If your loved one is not comfortable about having visitors, there are other ways to send your best wishes. Consider the old fashioned gesture of making a phone call or sending a card, with a letter. Or, if you and the receiver are technology-savvy, record the best wishes of your family and friends and send it as a video. Consider Facetime or a WhatsApp call which is always lovely to spread the smiles, have a chat and make someone’s day special.
If your loved one is not coping well
If you leave your Christmas visit feeling concerned about the well-being of your loved one, please feel free to give me, Danielle Robertson, a call. We can discuss your concerns and put together a plan to resolve them.
If you're visiting after a year of being locked out by border closures, you may see some changes including deterioration in the health of your loved one. Don't be distressed. I am here to help advise on measures that can be taken to improve your loved one's quality of life.
I take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and festive season. I understand that this time of year can be an emotional time and my thoughts are with those who experience their first Christmas without a loved one.