The holidays are a time for celebrations, family gatherings, and catching up with loved ones whom you may only see once a year. It’s a time for feasting, laughing, singing, and storytelling.
For many people, the holidays bring feelings of loneliness, stress, anxiety, and negative self-reflection. For patients with cancer, going through or recovering from cancer treatment could mean skipping family gatherings, or even spending the holidays in a hospital or treatment center.
As we continue to grapple with COVID-19, we all need to be extra careful about holiday gatherings this year, especially older people and those who are immunocompromised, such as people diagnosed with cancer, who are at increased risk from this infectious disease. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) still advises against large indoor gatherings, and even a small gathering can be risky for those who are at increased risk from the novel coronavirus.
Luckily, today’s technology provides us with many options for staying connected even during social distancing!
In addition to phone, e-mail, and texting, you can enjoy face-to-face conversations using video chat apps on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. You can also use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to see what is happening in the lives of your loved ones and keep them updated on what is going on with you!
There are dozens of video chat and video conferencing apps available, most of which are easy to learn. Many are designed for business use, whereas others have business and consumer versions. Here is a list of the most widely used video apps:
- Google Hangouts
- Google Duo
- Facebook Messenger
- FaceTime (for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users)
If you cannot be with loved ones during the holidays, schedule video chats so you can enjoy parts of the day together! Use live video to share in the joy of family traditions, such as carving the turkey, singing songs, opening gifts, or hanging decorations that have special meaning.
There are also video gaming apps that you can use to play trivia, bingo, charades, and board games, or even create a scavenger hunt! Remember, just because you are using technology, that doesn’t mean you have to stay seated. Have a talent show or a dance contest! If you are unable to physically participate, you can still watch the fun and communicate with loved ones.
If you want to keep it simple, social media platforms have built-in games that allow users to play against each other in real time.
Another way to use technology to stay connected during the holidays is by sharing digital photo albums. Create albums that capture special events and milestones from the previous year, or use old family photos and reminisce about cherished memories. You can share digital photo albums during video chat and send via e-mail or mobile app for loved ones to keep!
A great gift this year may be a digital picture frame that allows you to use an app or an e-mail to send photos directly to the frame. If someone cannot be there for your holiday gathering, whether a patient with cancer or an older loved one who is unable to travel, you can send photos to their digital frame in near real time!
Thanks to technology, nobody has to be alone or miss out on the fun this holiday season. Check out the video apps and games mentioned in this article, and start planning activities with loved ones today!