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Preparing for Visits with Loved Ones in Memory Care

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be challenging in a variety of ways, but regular visits can nurture your relationship and improve their mood. By planning ahead and following these strategies, you can create more positive and rewarding visits. Here are a few key tips to ensure positive and enjoyable visits:

Establish a Routine

Establishing a routine is about visiting regularly to give your loved ones consistency, finding the right time of day and sticking to it, and visiting for just the right amount of time. When drafting your schedule, try to plan your visits for a time of day when you know your loved one will be alert and comfortable. Aim to incorporate shorter more frequent visits instead of longer infrequent visits. Additionally, identify an area where your loved one is comfortable and not overwhelmed by sounds or other people. An environment with no surprises will result in a more relaxed visit.

Make sure to check with your loved one’s memory care facility regarding visitation policies – frequency of visits, number of visitors, visit length, etc. – and adapt your schedule accordingly.

Bring Pictures

Visual aids, such as photographs, can be incredibly helpful conversation starters when visiting a loved one with memory issues. Photos of past events or family members can jog your loved one’s memories or remind them of a different memory. Providing them with printed photographs to hold onto may also help them retain information or reference a family member during subsequent visits.

Use Open-Ended Questions

Direct questions can be hard for a loved one suffering from memory loss to answer clearly. To avoid agitation or confusion, try to think of open ended conversation starters that they’ll feel comfortable responding to. Lastly, try not to argue if you know what they tell you isn’t correct. Allowing a loved one to relax and enjoy family company should be the focus of your visits.