Department of Family Services – Older Adults

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 708
Fairfax, VA 22035

Trina Mayhan-Webb,

Being Lazy Will Help Keep You Healthy this Holiday Season

Article by Allyson Pearce, Marketing and Community Relations Specialist, Fairfax County Health Department

(Posted 2020 December)

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The kids call it “FOMO”— which stands for Fear of Missing Out. But during this coming holiday season, FOMO is a good thing to embrace.

“The reality is that the pandemic is not over. And we all know that older adults are more susceptible to severe COVID-19. Therefore, we are encouraging everyone to rethink their usual holiday celebrations as large gatherings are simply not safe,” said Natalie Giscombe Simons, gerontologist and manager of the Health Department’s Adult Day Health Care program. 

The Adult Day Health Care team regularly counsels families on how to tweak everyday life to better accommodate special needs of older adults. Here are their suggestions for a fun, safe and festive holiday this year:

legs crossed on ottoman in front of fireplaceStay in your pajamas. Turn on the Hallmark movies and get cozy for a night in with immediate family.

Celebrate virtually. Trade the usual holiday gatherings for virtual get-togethers, using platforms like FaceTime, Zoom or Skype. Reconsider your travel this year, as airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.

Gift yourself a flu vaccine. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season. Flu vaccines are useful any time during the flu season and can often be accessed into January or later. Find where you can get one at 

Keep it cozy. If you absolutely cannot avoid a holiday gathering, keep it as small as possible, host it outdoors, and wear masks. Remember, more people means more infection risk.

“In a normal year, standard holiday get-togethers run a risk for some older adults who have underlying health issues that make them more susceptible to any illness—flu, colds, or stomach bugs. But this is not a normal year, with the threat of COVID-19 illness being very real. While everyone wants to be with grandchildren and family, we need to take extra precautions – a healthy dose of FOMO will be good for you!” said Natalie.

Get more COVID-19 information from Fairfax County

This article is part of the Golden Gazette monthly newsletter which covers a variety of topics and community news concerning older adults and caregivers in Fairfax County. Are you new to the Golden Gazette? Don’t miss out on future newsletters! Subscribe to get the electronic or free printed version mailed to you. Have a suggestion for a topic? Share it in an email or call 703-324-GOLD (4653).

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