Visiting family members with Dementia

Ways to make your visits meaningful here at Olivenhain Guest Home!

As our residents decline, they lose their ability to communicate.  Sadly, this is a time when families stop visiting as often because they don’t know what to say or how to make the visits meaningful for the family as well as the resident.  Below are a few ideas that might help you as you spend time with your loved one here at the Guest Home.

  1. Visit with your loved one outside on the patio if the weather permits.
  2. Prepare for the visit ahead of time.  Bring items of interest to your loved one.  For example, if the resident had a love of pets, you could bring your family pet to visit. If the resident had a love of a certain kind of music, bring a CD to play while visiting them.
  3. Talk with your loved one about things going on in your neighborhood and in your family.  Don’t assume they can’t understand.  Just hearing your voice will bring comfort and keep them connected with the outside world.
  4. Bring their favorite food and spices for the visit.
  5. Reminisce about past life experiences.  Bring in old family photographs.  They may enjoy just listening to your memories.  If they are able to respond, this may spark a memory.
  6. On a calendar, highlight the date of your next visit.  This will remind them you are going to return for another visit.
  7. Personalize their room.  Now is the time they need the most stimulation. See how you can make their room pretty while at the same time reflecting their personality.   You could put up a sports banner if they were into sports.  Add family photos, pictures on the walls, plants, decorator pillows and pretty afghans, wind chimes over the bed, etc.
  8. Read to your loved one.  Bring a book of their favorite author and read aloud or borrow one of ours.
  9. Bring flowers from your garden.
  10. Provide hand massages and gentle back rubs if they can tolerate it. Often times the only touch they receive is by our care givers. Having a massage can be very soothing, especially when being touched by a love one.
  11. Include children in the visit.  Bring things for the children to do.  It could be a children’s book that the child can read to the residents. Plan your visit around our bird cage, the children will like it, and the resident will enjoy talking about them.
  12. Bring cassette tapes of the religious services from your local church.  Share the church bulletin with them.
  13. Bring your local newspaper and read what is happening in the local community they are from.  They want to still feel connected!
  14. Talk about events happening in your family.
  15. Read poetry.
  16. Share a meal with them.  We would love to have your family eat here with your loved one. Let us know ahead of time so we can have enough food for you! We ask a $5 donation for each guest meal to help cover costs.
  17. Do a make-up session or paint mom’s nails.
  18. Take your loved-one for a walk outside.  If you need assistance, talk to a caregiver.
  19. If your loved one is able to take a drive, go on a short outing.. maybe to McDonald’s for an ice cream cone.

I hope this list has been helpful to you and perhaps has sparked some creative ideas and personal thoughts to help make your visit here at Olivenhain Guest Home a pleasant and fulfilling one for both you and your loved one.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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