Not every older adult with memory loss diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s will need to move into memory care. Still, for some, it can provide some much-needed relief.
If your loved one is in memory care, it is important to continue visiting them and spending time together. There is no set amount of times you should or should not go to see them. Instead, focus on the quality of the visit.
If you want to learn more about memory care and tips for making visits even more special, read the full blog below.
How to Prepare For a Visit
Visiting a loved one in memory care can feel different, and maybe even nerve-racking initially. Still, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying quality time together. Here are a few tips to help prepare for your next visit.
Find Out The Best Time to Visit
It can be helpful to find the best time of the day to visit your loved one. This could mean an afternoon visit before they get tired or earlier in the morning after breakfast and once they’re ready to start the day. Try reaching out to the staff and asking if they have noticed any times that your loved one seems to be in a good mood and ready for a visit.
Prepare Items to Bring in Advance
Bringing items, or even pets, can be a great way to facilitate conversations or partake in a meaningful activity. Here are some items that you might consider bringing:
- Photographs or a photo album
- Snacks or treats that they enjoy
- Assistive products
If you are considering bringing something like a pet or treats, try reaching out to the staff and ensuring it’s okay to bring these items with you on your visit.
Familiarize Yourself With Any Community Rules
Most memory care communities and centres may follow different rules and guidelines during visits. Try reaching out to the staff and asking about any tips or policies you should be aware of before visiting.
Tips for Visiting
Here are a few tips to consider during your visit to make it a comfortable and enjoyable experience for yourself and your loved one.
Communicate Clearly & Kindly
Some of the common symptoms of dementia are difficulty speaking, understanding, and communicating. By speaking clearly and kindly during your visit, you can allow your loved one time to process what you’re saying and it may help to reduce any stress of the situation.
Build a Peaceful Environment
A peaceful environment can go a long way towards alleviating stress for your loved one and creating a calm environment. You can create a relaxed atmosphere by removing unnecessary background noise, closing doors, and keeping the room at a comfortable temperature.
Engage in Calm & Fun Activities
Activities like music, massages, or watching a movie can be a great way to establish a connection and enjoy your time together. Music can be a very powerful activity that helps those with memory issues to reconnect and feel happy in their environment.
Things You Should Avoid Saying During a Visit
It can be challenging to cope with memory loss, and visits can be stressful for both parties involved. Here are a few phrases you should avoid saying on your next visit.
- “Your sister (or other family member) passed away years ago.”
- “What did you do this morning?”
- “Do you know who I am?”
These phrases can trigger emotional responses or remind them of their condition, which will likely bring unwanted stress and anxiety.
Tips For Bringing Children to Visit
Bringing your children to visit a loved one experiencing memory loss can be a great idea, but preparing ahead is important.
Educate Your Child
Consider teaching your children about memory loss and illnesses like dementia before visiting your loved one. It might help them to understand the situation and to act more responsibly during the visit.
Have Them Bring Something
A drawing, letter, or quiet game might be a good way of helping your child and loved one connect during the visit.
Signs It Might Be Time for Memory Care
Memory care communities often take care of laundry, cleaning, meal preparation, and other services intended to care for their residents. Here are some signs that your loved one might benefit from memory care:
- They have trouble with basic hygiene practices like bathing & dressing
- They no longer participate in many social activities or outings
- They forget to pay bills or take medications
- They forget important dates or plans
- You’re worried about their safety if they’re alone
- There mental health has changed and they are feeling depressed or unhappy