If someone you love has moved into an assisted living facility, it can be difficult to know what to do when you visit. After all, you have spent many decades visiting your parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle in their own home, and a move to an assisted living facility can be a complicated and confusing time for all of you. Your loved one now has a different routine, there are more people around, and you won’t really feel as comfortable as you did when you were plopping down on the couch in the old family home.
To make the transition more positive for everyone, and to make the most of your visits, we have a few helpful tips for you.
Focus on Your Loving Relationship
Although the place where your loved one lives may have changed, your relationship remains fundamentally the same. If you can focus on all of the positive aspects of the relationship you have built over the years, your visitation time will be more fruitful. Laugh at the same memories you have always laughed at, watch the same shows or movies you have enjoyed together in the past, follow the same sports teams, and do the same types of puzzles or other activities you have always enjoyed. The most important element is your relationship, and the time you spend together.
Choose Visiting Times Carefully
It’s likely that your loved one’s routine will have altered now that he or she is in an assisted living facility, so make sure that you figure out the best time to visit. For most older people, morning or early afternoon tends to be when they have the most energy. Another idea is to visit during mealtime so you can sit down and eat with your family member. This will not only give you both something to focus on, but also help you recall other enjoyable family meal times that you have shared.
Bring Something With You
One of the most tricky parts of visiting is that it may suddenly feel more awkward to spend time with your loved one. You’ve never had trouble talking before, but now it may feel more rushed and forced because it’s during specified visitation hours.
You can combat this problem by bringing something with you to focus on. If you have young children or grandchildren, they will be the perfect, joyful diversion. You could also bring interesting magazines, old family photos, music, or other specialty items that your loved one might be interested in. If the assisted living facility allows pets, well-trained animals are also a welcome respite, and will often cheer up other residents as well.
Enjoy Simple Activities
When visiting, the important thing is that you enjoy each other’s company while you have it. The time you spend together may not be grandiose in duration or in scope, but aim for quality and quiet so that you can experience some peace together. There will often be a slower pace to your visits, but this can be positive and allow you to do simple things that can have a big impact. Choose uncomplicated activities like reading together, taking a drive around the neighborhood or to an old favorite haunt, or simply sitting in the sun in the courtyard soaking up the rays. These activities will bring you both peace and help you feel more centered.
Make an Easy Exit
If you are honest with yourself, saying goodbye to a loved one in an assisted living facility is more difficult than when he or she was at home. To this end, make your goodbyes quick and positive without dwelling on the sad fact that you are leaving. Promise to visit soon and reassure your loved one as needed, but don’t make it a long drawn out process.
Although life is different when your loved one is in an assisted living facility, you can certainly make the most of your time together by following the easy tips above. The important thing is to be yourself and pick simple activities at the right time of day. Then your visit will be affirming (and not stressful) for both of you!
Questions on Visitation at The Inn at Belden Village?
We want to help you make the most of your time with your loved ones here at The Inn at Belden Village. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on visiting hours and rules.