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The holiday season for our seniors during a pandemic

La période des Fêtes chez nos ainés en temps de pandémie

Whether it is for baptisms, golden or bronze wedding anniversaries, seniors like to celebrate with family and friends. Every occasion is an excuse for a reunion. Despite the pandemic, this need to create opportunities for meetings and celebrations with our loved ones exists more than ever in the hearts of our seniors.

Let's be creative in this time of pandemic

However, it seems that these moments of celebration, so precious to them, will not be allowed this year. In addition to the current period, which is already very anxiety-provoking for seniors, there are unfortunately major concerns regarding the usual family gatherings during the holiday season. Creativity is needed more than ever. Among the wonderful ideas that have been put in place to recreate the magic of the holidays in today's context is one from a friend of Huma's: Story time with the little ones via Facetime. Every night, a short story was told to them through handmade puppets. This little ritual combining tradition and new technology allowed the grandchildren to experience unforgettable encounters with Grandma and Grandpa.

Intergenerational living is gaining popularity

The constraints related to the confinement as well as the security measures surrounding the elders have had the impact of raising questions within families. As a result, the intergenerational cohabitation model has gained in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic. More and more families, scalded by the collateral damage of the isolation of seniors, are deciding to bring several generations together under the same roof. Many of them would like the government to encourage this type of living.

The popularity of multigenerational housing can be explained by several factors. First, families want to live together because of the health crisis, as there are significant economic advantages to sharing expenses.

Second, as is the case for many immigrant families, there is the cultural factor. For them, it is natural that their children or other family members take care of their elders. It is a simple return of the pendulum, a way of life that is not systematically considered in Quebec families.

And third, to overcome isolation and foster collaboration between generations.

Keeping the family spirit

In 2020, three quarters of older women have had children and almost all of these mothers are now grandmothers. Family relationships are therefore central to the lives of many of them. It is therefore not uncommon for some grandmothers to also have important responsibilities towards their grandchildren.

Thus, the rise of bigenerations will have the side gain of facilitating contact with grandparents without breaking the safety bubbles put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. This is a win-win solution, especially if the family can call on outside help on a sporadic basis for home care.

In addition to helping with household chores or providing respite, it will help ensure the success of home care for seniors and counter the devastating effects of isolation on the mental health of all family members.

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