Risky business

Overcoming pandemic fatigue.

Most of us have grown weary of living life in a state of semi-panic and cautious concern. The COVID-19 pandemic has grown old.
We knew that it could go on for a while, but seriously? Christmas is fast approaching, and we can almost taste the bitterness of the one-year anniversary.

At this point, we can’t blame the continued rise on a lack of knowledge or unclear instructions about how to stop the spread. Many experts, including the U.S. Surgeon General, are blaming a new phenomenon called “pandemic fatigue.”

Essentially, pandemic fatigue means that people are loosening up on precautions because they’re tired of dealing with the pandemic. They’re willing to take more significant risks for improved mental health and feelings of normalcy. This can be especially true of seniors, who are reporting high levels of stress and loneliness, yet are at the highest risk.

That said, during the holiday season, be mindful of your choices and the choices of those around you. It’s important to realize that this behaviour might come in the form of wanting to stick to family traditions that are no longer strictly safe. Celebrating Christmas is still possible, but there have to be specific measures taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Consider the following when making plans this Christmas:

Organize a virtual holiday celebration if the risk is high and you are not living in the same home as your immediate family members.
If you are permitted a small family gathering, bring your own food and disposable cutlery, plates and glasses.

Consider ordering food and think carefully about safe ways to share.

Gathering outdoors in Canada is not always an option during winter, but some venues may provide more space indoors to accommodate social distancing.

Send letters, cards, and get everyone involved in the decorating and spirit of the holidays, whether virtually or safely in-person. The most important thing is maintaining connection with the ones you love.

During these uncertain times, I have experienced ups and downs both personally and professionally. One thing that has helped tremendously is staying in touch with the members of my church, despite not being able to meet for Sunday service. Be intentional about reaching out to senior members so they know someone is thinking about them. Sing carols over zoom. Get the Sunday school kids to send letters. Maybe even organize a Secret Santa among your church’s small groups.

Our faith is our greatest asset, but understand that the choices we make during this time will impact whether we have both a safe Christmas and a healthy New Year.


  • Marcel Gemme

    Marcel lives in Montreal and has worked in the healthcare system for more than 20 years. He currently helps people find long-term senior care through his website, www.ECDOL.org.

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