Visiting a loved one in assisted living can be a fun, enjoyable experience for both of you.
Even if you’re a little hesitant to visit an assisted living community, this blog will help you overcome your discomfort and plan a memorable visit for all.
Set Aside Your Previous Nursing Home Experiences
Many people avoid visiting a loved one who’s in assisted living, not because they don’t want to see the person, but because they harbor negative memories or stereotypes of nursing homes.
Let’s clear up a few misconceptions. First, assisted living is not the same as a nursing home. Assisted living is for residents who are mostly independent, but require a little help with the activities of daily living. These residents often lead active, social lives that may not be much different from before they moved.
If you’re still feeling uncomfortable about your visit, try to simply focus on the positive. You’re going to see your loved one and spend some time together - that’s all. And remember that a visit with loved ones can be a wonderful boost in a resident’s day as well as yours.
When and How Often Should I Visit?
Most residents in assisted living relish time with loved ones. Try to find a regular time to visit so your loved one knows when to expect you. It can make it easier to fit into your schedule as well as provide them something to look forward to that day.
Many assisted living communities offer 24/7 access to visitors. If so, it should be easier to plan time for a visit.
Even if you personally can’t visit as frequently as you’d like, see if other family members or friends can arrange a time to stop in. Just remember to be respectful of your loved one’s schedule - they may have their own agenda for any given day!
Fun Ideas for Assisted Living Visits
Assisted living visits can be fun and memorable for both you and your loved one. Try some of the ideas below for a special visit experience.
Bring the kids
Most older adults love to see children - especially children related to them. For young children, pick a time of day when they’re usually awake and in a good mood. For older children, give them a little background on the assisted living community you’ll be visiting so they understand what’s going on.
Plan to go out
Particularly if your loved one doesn’t drive anymore, they may appreciate a meal out or shopping trip. Pick a destination that your loved one will enjoy and be mindful of things like accessible walking areas, available restrooms, and places to sit down.
Reminisce about the past
Looking through old photos or home videos can be a fun way to spend a visit together. Bring along a photo album, either physical or digital, to share. You may also bring music they once enjoyed or favorite movies to watch together.
Play a game together
If your loved one enjoys brain-teasers or puzzles, bring a few along to do together. A large puzzle with many pieces can provide enjoyment for not only one visit, but for several. Or, try board games, crosswords, cards, or any other game your loved one might enjoy.
Getting exercise and some sunshine is good for everyone, no matter their age. Take a short walk, admire the gardens at the assisted living community, pot plants together, or watch birds.
Checking in During Assisted Living
Although the main focus of your visit will probably be to enjoy time with your loved one, stopping by can help you spot any potential issues and ask the staff about your concerns.
Give your loved one and their home or apartment a quick, discreet check. Is it as clean as expected? Is the laundry being done (if that’s part of their services)? Is your loved one at an appropriate weight?
If you discover signs of problems, or your loved one tells you about an incident, report your concern to a staff member - especially if it’s a critical problem. Building a good relationship with the nursing staff can also help make getting problems corrected easier in the future.
The Latest in Assisted Living at The Aurora
The Aurora, Otterbein Lebanon SeniorLife’s newest assisted living community, offers modern amenities and compassionate care.
Every resident can enjoy three meals a day, housekeeping and linen service, transportation to local events and activities, and more. Learn more about life at The Aurora.