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Visiting a Senior With Memory Loss Due to Alzheimer’s or Dementia

When your senior loved one is transitioning to a memory care community you may be nervous or wonder what will take place during your visits. 

Several factors will help you determine what to expect. 

For instance, you will want to consider your loved one’s personality, what stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia they are in, and how long it has been since they’ve transitioned to an assisted living or memory care community. 

Often, family members and friends are unsure how often they should visit and don’t want to overstay their welcome. When your senior first transitions, daily visits would be beneficial and help them ease into their new home. Once they are comfortable in their new home, you can decrease your visits to every other day or every couple of days. 

Visiting your senior loved one will give you the opportunity to make more memories and a chance to support and comfort them when they need you the most. 

5 Ways to Prepare for Visiting Loved Ones in Memory Care

Preparing for a visit with your loved one can make it go smoothly. 

Once you know their schedule and what time of day they are most active or calm can make a huge difference in how your visit turns out. 

While you can prevent some outbursts and mood swings, there will be days that your plans don’t go as planned. Don’t get discouraged if this happens. 

Even if your loved one cannot express their gratitude, your presence makes a difference. 

Check for special events to enjoy together

Most enhanced memory care communities, such as Kensington Place Redwood City, offer activities and special events for their residents and their families to enjoy. 

During one of your visits, ask a team member about events going on in the future. These may include holiday events, dinners, or other preplanned activities that families can join. 

Create a visitor guest book

It can be difficult for a senior to remember who has come to visit them and when. When you create a guest book, you make a journal for your loved one to read that will remind them of how they’ve spent their days. 

It is also a great way to help you stay informed. Your senior may have social workers, therapists, nurses, and volunteers coming in to see them. 

For a guest book to be most effective, each visitor should include their name, the date of their visit, what they did during the visit, and when they plan to come again. 

Establish a connection through activities

As your senior’s memory disease progresses, it may be more challenging to form connections, but there are still many ways you can do this. 

Some activities you can enjoy with your loved one include: 

  • Card games 
  • Board games
  • Scrapbooking 
  • Making a family tree
  • Reading to your loved one 
  • Watching a movie 
  • Playing an instrument
  • Listening to music 
  • Going for a walk 
  • Sitting outside 
  • Playing with a pet
  • Looking at photographs
  • Completing a puzzle together

Ask your senior what they want to do 

It is important to consider what your loved one may want to do. 

Rather than planning the visit yourself, ask them what sounds enjoyable. Your senior may prefer a quiet and relaxing visit rather than an active one. 

By considering what they are in the mood for, you may be able to prevent an emotional outburst. 

Use your listening skills

Seniors may find it challenging to express their feelings. 

While it can be frustrating, stay patient, respectful, and listen. Interrupting them or trying to guess what they are saying will only upset them and make it harder for them to get their point across. 

What to Do During Your Visit with a Loved One 

Keep in mind that communicating with your senior loved one will be different now. While they are the same person, their cognitive skills may have declined. Being sensitive to these changes will help you both stay more positive and happy with your visit. 

Introduce yourself

It is no secret that seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia eventually forget their loved ones’ names and faces. 

It is one of the most painful parts of loving someone with memory disease. Still, your presence helps seniors feel loved and important even when their memories have faded.

Introducing yourself can lessen any fears your senior may have when you enter the room. 

Even for those who can still remember their family members, announcing yourself can reduce any awkwardness or embarrassment that they would feel if it takes them a minute to recall who you are.

Use respectful communication 

Everyone deserves to be spoken to respectfully. 

This means you speak calmly, politely, and listen when your senior speaks. Don’t talk to your senior loved one like they are a child or yell at them when they are confused. 

It is easier to communicate and understand one another when the conversation is uninterrupted. Try to limit distractions so the two of you can remain connected.

Make your visits peaceful

There are many ways you can make your stay relaxed. 

While some days your loved one may want to listen to music or engage in noisier activities, other days they may prefer quieter activities. 

Sit in their room where it is quiet and comfortable, or outdoors in a quiet location, while talking, bird watching, and enjoying the fresh air. On days they seem irritable or feeling sensory overload, dim the lights. 

Don’t argue if they disagree with something you say, or pressure them into remembering something they may have forgotten. 

Use nonverbal communication

Verbal communication is not the only way to communicate with your loved one. Sometimes touch, eye contact, and facial expressions mean more than words. 

You can give your loved one a massage, hold their hand, or hug them. Being physically touched releases oxytocin, which leads to lower blood pressure and a happier mood. 

Making Memories at Kensington Place Redwood City

Transitioning your spouse, parent, or another loved one to a memory care community can be scary. 

You may worry about missing out on your senior’s life and fear that you will no longer make memories together. 

At The Kensington Place Redwood City, our compassionate staff understands your concerns and can assure you that your loved one will be in great hands. And, you can still play a considerable role in your loved one’s life. 

Family is important to us, which is why it is Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own. 

Our assisted living and memory care communities offer high acuity care, meaning our staff is equipped to handle all levels of change in resident’ medical care. 

We also offer rehabilitation services, spiritual services, life enrichment activities, and superior dining servicesContact us to learn more about our safe, secure, and cozy memory care neighborhoods and amenities.

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