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MDHHS hopes training will help residents enjoy virtual holiday gatherings

As part of a statewide effort to get residents to stay home for the holidays, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will offer virtual sessions over the next three days to help older adults connect with one another.

In addition to the virtual social sessions, the department has offered training to help older adults figure out how to virtually spend time with their own family.

Bob Wheaton is with the department. He said so far nearly 5,000 residents have participated in training.

“In the past, they may go to large family gatherings for thanksgiving,” he said. “We wanted to figure out a way that they can still have those connections without having to put themselves at risk by going to indoor gatherings.”

Wheaton said for older adults without family the state will also hold virtual hangout sessions for anyone who wants to participate.

“They can be connected to other people in their demographic and get experience using that type of technology so they can communicate with their friends and families at a time when a lot of older adults are staying home because of COVID 19,” he said.

Wheaton said connecting with others is an important part of the holiday season - this season it just might look a little different.

Governor Whitmer has previously urged residents to reconsider holiday plans to avoid spreading the virus.

In a statement on Tuesday, she once again urged caution during the holidays noting “to protect our families, frontline workers, and small businesses we must make short term sacrifices for our long term health.”

Learn more about trainingshere.