The Caregivers is a unique series focused on the challenges and triumphs of caregiving. These stories have been created through a strategic partnership between AARP and Word In Black.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve experienced the unfathomable: Widespread loss of loved ones, dramatic shifts in the economy, unpredictable weather events, and exposure to cracks in our private and public systems. It’s not all bad news, though. We’ve also witnessed breakthroughs in science and conversations about well-being and safety. If you plan to be around family for holiday festivities this year, then here are some tips for keeping safe from COVID-19:

Look in the mirror and face the facts.

As much as you’d like to keep your loved ones safe, there is no sure way to do this. Keeping your loved ones safe starts with you. What are your belief systems about protecting yourself from the virus? Are you one of the more than 195 million fully vaccinated people in the United States? If yes, then have you chosen to receive a booster vaccine? If you are not vaccinated, then are you clear on why you are not? 

Find more resources about vaccinations here.

Know your recent health history. 

COVID-19 symptoms include loss of taste or smell, muscle weakness, and fatigue. These symptoms vary based on age, health history, and many other factors. It is helpful to know your recent health history and that of your care recipient(s). You can use this information to decide what your needs are. Maybe it’s a checkup with a medical care provider or a conversation with a dietician. 

Listen to your body. 

Festivities can bring a mix of joy and stress. Observe how different parts of your body feel as you approach festivities. If you are noticing shifts in your physical or mental well-being, then consider making adjustments to your plans to invite calm and balance. Making these adjustments is a great way to show care for your loved ones. Here are detailed tips for being kind to your body while traveling and at festivities. 

Check the latest safety guidelines. 

Safety guidelines vary from state to state. If you are preparing to travel via train, bus, or car, then take time to review what accommodations to make (bringing gloves, surgical masks, and hand sanitizer). If you are planning to fly, then review the latest CDC rules.

Be selective about your festivities and develop an emergency plan. 

The holiday season is a time when caregivers and care recipients are likely to be around new and familiar faces. As a caregiver, be selective about who you visit or receive at celebrations. Establish an emergency plan in the event that you or your care recipient develops COVID-19 symptoms, contracts the virus, or discovers that you have been around someone who has contracted it. For more resources, visit