The recent spike in coronavirus cases means that many of us will feel extra lonely and isolated on Thanksgiving this year. After all, Thanksgiving is a gathering oriented holiday centered on good food and good company, but many Americans are looking at the possibility of a very scaled back celebration this year. There are activities we can do both for ourselves and for others, including older family members and friends not able to join us, in order to retain the joy this holiday brings.
Bring a meal to a senior. Many older adults, including those who are high-risk for contracting Covid-19, will be spending Thanksgiving alone. Bringing a home-cooked meal, safely prepared in your own kitchen, is one way to show you care – just make sure to check with the senior first to make sure that he or she doesn’t have any food allergies or dislikes. If cooking isn’t your thing, arrange for a meal to be delivered to your older adult friend or family member. You can also help your senior make a request for a Lasagna Love volunteer to bring them a dish of Italian comfort food to enjoy.
Set up a virtual dining room. Even if your senior loved one can’t join you in person, they can still dine with you! Set up a Zoom or FaceTime meeting so that everyone can eat Thanksgiving dinner together on screen. It will make everyone feel less alone while enjoying their meal.
Deliver or send Thanksgiving greetings, including ones made by the grandkids. Everyone loves getting deliveries to their door or in the mail, so taking the time to make a handmade card or craft for a senior can really make their day. Have the grandkids make a simple handprint turkey craft or other Thanksgiving themed creation for an extra personal touch.
Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade together. This year’s parade will look decidedly different from years past, but it’s still happening! The parade is a time honored tradition enjoyed by multiple generations, so why not tune in and connect virtually to enjoy it together.
Tell your older adult friends about the Friendship Line. Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line, which was expanded to serve all older adults living in California earlier in 2020 year, is a 24/7 toll free line seniors can call on Thanksgiving day (or any day of the year!) to talk to someone who will listen and provide some emotional warmth.