Visiting your loved ones in a memory care facility is beneficial to both parties. The patient will appreciate the love and attention you bring with you, and you as the visitor will benefit from seeing the joy you bring to your loved ones’ face.
Learn how to make the most of your visit:
Schedule your visit early in the day
Many memory care facility patients grow excited or agitated in the late afternoon (this is called “sundowning”), therefore early in the morning is a better time to visit – your loved one will be more fresh and alert.
Maintain Eye Contact
There may be times that you feel you are talking to a stranger. However, make sure to keep eye contact with your loved one and smile warmly. Smiles are contagious, and most times you will get a smile back.
Bring something from home that might trigger a memory – such as a framed photograph that has been in your home for decades, a family Bible, or a music box. Display these props gently and encourage the patient to tell you what comes to mind.
Reduce Background Noise
Lower the volume on the television set, close the door to the room, and if necessary close the window in order to cut down on background noise, which can agitate and distract the patient.
Pay Attention to Body Language
Does the patient look too cold or too warm? Adjust the room temperature accordingly, or provide a sweater or blanket if she is cold. Or does she seem scared or uncomfortable? Calm her down with a hug and a low, soothing voice, and ask her to share any concerns with you.
A Change of Scenery can be a Good Thing
If you have approval from the doctor or administrator, take your loved one out for lunch in town, or take a walk in the park or through a garden. Mention flowers by name and see if your loved one names the next flower. Don’t apply any pressure, and change the subject if the answer is not forthcoming.
What to do during the visits:
- Read aloud,
- Play games,
- Enjoy trivia,
- Look through photo albums,
- Story telling,
- Bring along magazines or books of interest,
- Listen to the radio together.
And finally, enjoy fresh air and sunshine, be genuine, and be patient. Don’t argue with your loved one. To be kind is more important than to be right.