By Bob Gregory
If your parent is in a Senior Facility such as an Assisted Living Facility or a Nursing Home, one of the most important things you can do for them is to visit! Many people find visiting a Senior Facility intimidating because they are not sure what to do or how to act during their visit. It is different than visiting your parent at their own home but the time you spend together should be just as enjoyable. While there are differences between an Assisted Living Facility and a Nursing Home, I will keep these tips focused on the similarities.
Here are some suggestions to help make your visit more enjoyable.
- Plan your visit in advance so your parent will be prepared. Depending on your parent’s health and need for assistance in personal care, they may wish to have someone help them bathe and dress before your arrival. This will make your parent feel better about themselves and more prepared for visitors. Show respect by asking permission to visit and coordinate the time of the visit so as not to interfere with meals or favorite activities.
|Grandma & I (Photo credit: Travis Jon Allison)|
- Stop by the Nurses station prior to going to your parent’s room and inquire about their health and any issues they may be having. You should also ask if there is anything the staff would like you to discuss with your parent to help them perform their job easier. Be sure and thank them for the care and support they give your parent—this will mean a lot to them as they rarely get praise for all their service.
- Remember to respect your parent’s living quarters the same way you did when they were in their own home. Knock before entering the room and bring a small gift like fresh flowers. Observe the condition of the room, whether your parent or the facility is responsible for keeping it clean. Enquire as to why the room may not be kept clean but do not be critical and don’t immediately start cleaning—you are there for a visit!
- Come prepared with stories, pictures and videos you can share and have a few photos you can leave behind. Be sure to be attentive to the stories your parent wants to tell you and be prepared to listen to all the “gossip” from around the facility. Be a good listener and avoid dominating the conversation. Avoid making the visit an inquisition regarding your parent’s health and the care they receive. It is important to ask but don’t dwell as this is supposed to be an enjoyable visit. You can cover your parent’s health and care in a scheduled meeting with the caregivers.
- Be endearing and affectionate with your parent. Human touch is very important for all, especially for the elderly. Make sure you hug, kiss or hold the hand of your parent; it will mean more than you can imagine. Share stories of “the good ole days” and if possible, do activities you used to enjoy together such as playing cards, board games, making music or singing. Include any of your parent’s friends they may like to participate but don’t be surprised if they want you all to themselves.
|visit to grandma jean IMG_7073 (Photo credit: tlr3automaton)|
- Bring other family members with you. Don’t overwhelm your parent with too many guests but bring along your spouse or children if possible. If you are bringing young children or teens, prepare them for what they will see and make sure they avoid making “faces” or unpleasant comments. Help your family members focus on the reason for the trip and lead by example!
- Speak to other residents and ask them if they know your parent; you may find out some very interesting facts you didn’t know about your parent’s behavior! It’s also nice to share the joy as not everyone has family that visits. Kindness is infectious so spread as much as you can during your visit.
If you keep the above suggestions in mind, your visit with your elderly parent in their Senior Facility will be more enjoyable. Remember you are visiting a loved one so be yourself and enjoy your parent. These suggestions are meant for a scheduled social visit with your parent but there are other tips you need to know about surprise visits to make sure your parent is receiving proper care—we’ll discuss those in another entry! If you would like to obtain a list of Assisted Living Facilities or Nursing Homes in your area that meet your needs, please consider www.seniorfacilityfinder.com .
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Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of www.seniorfacilityfinder.com. At SeniorFacilityFinder.com, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If you find you need Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Home or other type of senior facility, please consider www.seniorfacilityfinder.com.