As seniors throughout BC receive their first vaccinations for Covid-19, families are starting to make plans to celebrate Easter with their senior loved ones.
“Last Easter, we were all grappling with the new restrictions and anxiety associated with Covid-19, and it felt like Easter got cancelled,” says Janice Miller, Marketing Manager for Bria Communities Seniors’ Residences. Celebrations like Easter and Christmas are the days that help define the year. Seniors missed marking those milestones with friends and family. “Easter 2021 is a different story,” she continues, “we’re not quite back to normal, and we still have provincial restrictions on indoor group gatherings, but there are lots of senior-friendly ways to celebrate.”
OUTDOOR GATHERING IDEAS
- Parks and public spaces offer an excellent opportunity to gather for a visit. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and a propane fire pit to keep everyone warm.
- Make a reservation for a special meal at a restaurant with an outdoor patio. Phone ahead and ask for a table with a heater, and be sure to dress warmly.
- Don’t forget festive touches: wear funny hats, have a senior-friendly egg hunt, do a simple craft project together.
- Drive-by visits work well for seniors who may have mobility issues or who get cold quickly. Drive from location to location for short visits. The senior can stay in the car and visit through the window with those outside.
VIRTUAL GATHERING IDEAS
- There is no shortage of video chat options when a senior has access to a smartphone, tablet or computer. Make a date with a group of family members to chat together. Seniors living in retirement homes like Bria Communities often have access to tools that facilitate these gatherings. Families of Bria Communities residents can use these links to schedule a virtual chat at your convenience with residents at Magnolia Gardens, Sunridge Gardens, The Waterford and The Wexford.
- Add a game to your gathering. There are apps like HouseParty that you can use to play a variety of senior-friendly games. Or modify your family’s favourite game to allow everyone to play together on a video chat.
- Plan for intentional conversation. Let everyone involved in the chat know that they’ll have a chance to answer a specific question: What was your most memorable Easter? What is your favourite Easter chocolate or candy?
LONG DISTANCE GIFT IDEAS
- Photos are always special. Take time to get pictures from your smartphone printed and mail them in time for Easter.
- Flowers, candy bouquets, fruit baskets, or even a rootbeer sampler pack are all available from local businesses for delivery leading up to Easter.
- Consider sending something fun from Amazon: puzzles, adult colouring books & pens, a humorous book or quirky socks are all fun ideas.
ACCESSIBLE RELIGIOUS CELEBRATIONS
- Many churches offer online service options that are available through a home computer or tablet.
- Contact a local pastor to ask what options are available for seniors who are unable to access technology. Many churches have made plans to serve these seniors.
- Print out an Easter sermon or devotional to read on Easter Sunday.
Seniors are most vulnerable to Covid-19, and we all want to ensure they are safe and healthy. When making indoor plans, follow the provincial health orders. Even when a senior is vaccinated, there is still a risk for contracting or carrying the Covid-19 virus.