- Keep a routine and establish a visiting schedule, as habitual check-ins with your family member can be helpful and be a big comfort. To start scheduling your visits, it’s advisable to check with the staff to see which time of day is most visit-appropriate -- maybe your family member is feeling at his or her most energetic or outgoing at certain moments during the day, but needs some down time at other moments, for example. Also ensure that your visits don’t conflict with any activity sessions planned.
- Have a good time. Keep visits fun by introducing activities that your loved one enjoys, anything from listening to music, or talking a walk, to watching movies or playing games. Bring along an object or a prop, this item can serve as a conversation starter. Prop suggestions include books, toys, photos, or food items. Sharing family photo albums, or bringing a video recording of a family member’s recent graduation ceremony, dance recital, or championship sports game can also keep your family member in the loop. If family members are unsure of what to bring, or of what activities they could pursue together during their next visit, staff can often make suggestions.
- Try not to overstay. Every resident has different energy levels, so while staying for a long time could tire your family member or contribute to a bit a stress, how much is too much depends on the resident. Be on the alert for any body language cues that your loved one is getting tired.
- Keep in contact. Sometimes it’s not possible to spend as much time as is desired with your family member due to work, a full schedule, or long distances. It’s possible to keep in touch in other ways, however. Consider scheduling a call, sending family photos by mail, or sending audio or video recordings to exchange greetings or share pleasant moments.
Residents who have frequent visitors from family members, have a happier and more positive outlook on life. They have what to look forward to. Make your visits worth more. Follow these tips and recommendations to help make the most of family visits: