UW Health Shares Recommendations for Elder Safety This Thanksgiving
Madison, Wisconsin - Thanksgiving is Thursday, and COVID-19 has made it different for most people this year. That change can be difficult since Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when family gathers together, and it has been a long time since many of us have seen older friends and relatives.
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. Nate 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."
Dr. Chin also wants to stress the increased COVID-19 risk older adults face:
- People over the age of 70 account for 77 percent of Wisconsin residents who have died of COVID-19.
- Nursing homes and group home residents account for no less (and potentially more) than 31 percent of Wisconsin residents who have died of COVID-19.
If you do see older relatives who do not live in your household, it is imperative that you socially distance, wear a mask and do not share dishes or do family style eating.
Date Published: 11/23/2020