Visiting your aging parent in a nursing home, assisted living, or memory care can be stressful. You may worry about their health, their emotional health, and if they recognize you. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visits and make them as comfortable as possible:
Call Before You Come By
When you first visit your parent in special care, it’s important to ensure they are up for visitors. You can best call ahead and find out if there are any restrictions on when visitors can come. It’s also helpful to know the schedule of the community. That way, you know when it would be most convenient for them (and not just yourself) if you were planning a visit.
If there are no specific rules regarding visiting hours or days, try calling at least 24 hours before your planned trip. Calling ahead ensures everyone involved has plenty of time to prepare and get ready for your arrival. This gives team members ample time to update their residents on who exactly is coming over.
Plan Your Visit Around Their Awake Hours
The best way to make sure you enjoy your time with your parent is by planning around their awake hours. If they have dementia, they may not be able to remember what time it is and will likely feel stressed out if visitors come during naps or at night.
Invite a Caregiver on Your Visit
It’s a good idea to invite a caregiver along on your visit. They can explain what is going on, help you understand your parent’s condition and the care plan, and answer any questions you might have. If they’re not busy with other residents or tasks, they may take some time away from their duties and show you around the place.
This is also an excellent opportunity for them to get to know you better to serve your loved one in memory care needs.
Don’t Take It Personally if Your Parent Doesn’t Recognize You
It’s not that they don’t love you or even know who you are. They don’t have the same brain functions as they used to, so sometimes their memories get slightly fuzzy. Perhaps your mom has Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. She may think her daughter is still a baby, or she’s speaking with someone else entirely (who happens to look like her).
However upsetting this may be for both parties involved, there’s nothing wrong with being upset! It can be painful when someone close to us starts losing their memories-we’re not robots ourselves. It hurts our feelings too—it shouldn’t ruin an entire visit or turn into an argument over whether or not someone loved us enough when they were younger.
Keep to a Regular Schedule During Visits if Possible
It’s best to maintain a regular schedule of visits with your parent. This is especially true during the first few months after entering memory care. Visits are often stressful for both of you. Still, they can also be comforting and reassuring, especially if they occur at times familiar to both of you (e.g., on Sundays).
We hope these tips will help you visit your aging parents in memory care. It can be difficult for everyone involved, but we also know it’s essential to keep in touch with the people who raised us and cared for us throughout our lives. We wish you all the best as you navigate this new phase of life together!