By Dr. Gerard Muraida
“Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, o’er the fields we go, laughing all the way” is widely recognized as part of the lyrics to the beloved 164-year-old holiday song “Jingle Bells”. It was written by James Pierpont in 1857 in Boston, Mass., and was copyrighted under the title “The One-Horse Open Sleigh”. The song references the bells that were attached to a horse’s harness enabling people to hear oncoming sleighs at blind intersections and avoid collisions just loke today’s car horns.
Of course, modes of travel and communication have continued to evolve since the 19th century. Today, face coverings and social distancing enable us to do both more safely amid the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, they can also add a layer of difficulty to reaching out to seniors who could benefit from interpersonal contact. Consider that many seniors have lost loved ones and may be spending the holidays alone. If you know someone who works in a hospital, nursing home, or assisted living facility, ask them how a person can help make the holidays a little more cheerful for their senior residents. And be sure to thank them for their work.
If communication can’t be conducted face-to-face (mask-to-mask), ask a senior if a meal or a small gift might be delivered. Inquire about any volunteer opportunities that might be available. Be mindful, too, that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are having Covid outbreaks, so plan a visit accordingly.
As we enter our second holiday season with Covid as a backdrop, please continue to be vigilant. Wash your hands, wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and consider the New Mexico Department of Health’s urgent recommendation to get vaccinated.
Be happy, be safe and be kind to one another.