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Creating Quality Time Visiting a Senior in Assisted Living

As your senior loved one ages, visiting them may become difficult, especially if they have a memory loss disease, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. This doesn’t mean you still can’t share special moments and make the most of your time with them.

By spending time with your senior, it shows that you still love and care for them. It is also a great way to make more good memories together. 

While you may feel intimidated at first or assume that your visits will be awkward, know that this feeling is normal but preventable. By planning ahead, you can take away a lot of the uncertainties and worries. 

Fortunately, most assisted living and memory care communities offer beautiful grounds with great scenic views, life enrichment activities, and dining services. So even on the days you haven’t planned much there will be things for you and your senior loved one to enjoy together. 

If you typically struggle to develop conversations and fun activities, continue reading below for some great tips and ideas for visiting a senior. 

Tips for planning a visit

As we mentioned above, visiting a senior loved one can go smoothly and even be enjoyable. If you’re planning your first visit, take a look at our tips. 

Consider their schedule

It may be the easiest to plan a visit based on your schedule, but it’s more important to plan your visit around your senior loved one’s schedule. Consider what time of day they are the most sociable and most apt to wanting visitors. 

Plan your visit in advance

Planning out your visit gives you a chance to prepare for it. You can make notes of conversation starters and topics to make communicating more effortless for you both. You can also decide on activities or games you will play together. 

Just be there

You don’t have to plan a day full of activities to enjoy spending time with your senior loved one. They will be happy to see you and appreciate the visit, no matter what you decide to do. Just being there is enough, even on the days where they are quiet. 

Be present

While it is important to be there physically, it is essential that you are actually giving them your time and attention while you are visiting. Consider shutting off your phone or any other electronics. Being on your phone the entire visit won’t allow you to be fully present with them, and your loved one may feel disconnected.

Pay attention to changes in their mood

During your visit, you should be aware of any shifts in your senior loved one’s moods. If they seem irritable after you’ve been there for a while, they may be getting tired and overstimulated and need some time alone or rest.

If you notice their mood changes during a particular conversation or topic, make a note of that topic and avoid it in the future. 

Communicating with your loved one

Upon arrival, offer your senior loved one a warm and welcoming greeting and hug. You should also identify yourself if your loved one has symptoms of dementia. A simple reminder can make you both feel more comfortable. 

While it may be different communicating with your loved one now, it doesn’t mean you can’t or that you shouldn’t. To make the conversation go smoothly, try not to ask too many yes or no questions, and don’t try to make them remember things that they don’t. 

Trying to get your senior loved one to remember people, places, or events that they can’t seem to recall can upset or scare them. 

You may also consider speaking up when you talk to them since many seniors have hearing loss. When speaking up, just be sure not to shout or yell, as they may panic, thinking you’re upset at them. 

Finally, be a good listener. Sometimes your loved one may not have much to say. Other times, they may be talkative, and there may even be days where they’re not making any sense. No matter which, just listen to what they say, even when you don’t understand. It will help them feel valued and loved. 

Things to do together

Common activities to do when visiting a senior loved one include: 

  • Read them a book, magazine, or journal 
  • Work on an art project
  • Put together a puzzle
  • Play games together
    • Cards
    • Bingo
    • Board games (monopoly, life, checkers, etc.)
  • Bring items to give them a manicure
  • Share a meal together
  • Bring pets if allowed 
  • Go for a walk to get fresh air
  • Listen to music together
  • Watch a movie
  • Look at pictures together
    • Old pictures from their past
    • New pictures, so they feel included

Please see our virtual presentation for even more tips on having a great visit with your loved one.

The Kensington Promise

The Kensington Falls Church is an enhanced assisted living and memory care community that tends to the specific needs of each of its residents. 

Transitioning your senior loved one to assisted living may seem challenging and scary, but you will feel more confident after meeting the compassionate staff in our communities. Unlike other places, our team includes onsite licensed nurses that are available 24/7 

On top of our exceptional medical care, we offer therapy, rehabilitation, psychiatric and psychological services, and life enrichment activities. 

We have beautiful grounds for your loved one to enjoy during walks, whenever they would like, and a talented chef to cater to their dietary needs and taste buds. These features can both add to an enjoyable visit with your senior. 

Our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. Reach out to us if you are interested in learning more about our seniors’ communities, services, and amenities.

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