If your loved one has recently moved into a memory care community, it is important that you find ways to support them in their new environment. Visiting them in their community should become an essential part of your routine, even if you initially feel a little nervous or emotional about how to spend quality time with them. Here are a few tips to help prepare for your next visit so that you can maintain a meaningful bond with your loved one in memory care.
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for memory care visits is to understand as much as possible about dementia and what your loved one is going through. Being educated about the illness can help you cope more effectively with any changes or challenges along the way.
Consider the time of your visit.
Seniors living with memory loss thrive on routine. For this reason, it is important that you visit at a time of the day that isn’t disruptive to your loved one’s typical schedule. For many memory care residents, evening hours are more challenging, and they may feel more anxious, upset, or confused later in the day. This is an effect of dementia known as sundowning. Talk to your loved one’s care team to determine when an ideal time to visit may be, such as during a meal when you can dine with them or after a nap when they feel their best.
Be open to quiet time.
Conversations can be stressful for people with dementia, and your loved one may not always feel like talking when you visit. Communication comes in many forms, and non-verbal cues like hand holding or hugs can be comforting and reassuring on days where conversation is limited. Whether you sit in comfortable silence together, take a quiet walk around the community grounds, listen to music, or watch a show, your silent presence can still be a powerful form of connection.
Establish connection through an activity.
Spend time doing an activity together when you visit as an effective way to connect with your loved one. Bring special items from home, like photographs, a favorite treat, or a game. Other simple ideas include arranging flowers, placing pictures in an album, doing a puzzle, or completing simple tasks like cutting coupons or folding laundry.
Continue to visit, even as the disease progresses.
As your loved one’s disease progresses, it will likely become more challenging to spend time with them. They may not recognize you or they may be agitated more easily. Remember to be patient and continue to visit them when you can to show support.
Memory Care at The Oaks at Bartlett
If you’re still unsure about how to spend time with a loved one in memory care, talk to their care team for suggestions. They can help you identify the best times of the day to visit, activities you can enjoy together, and other ways to make the most of your visits.
At The Oaks at Bartlett, we encourage families to visit memory residents as much as possible. We partner with families in order to fulfill our commitment to giving their loved ones a meaningful, purposeful life. To learn more about our memory care community, schedule an in-person tour today.