Visiting someone with dementia is a good way to bond and remind them that you care. That said, there are certain things to keep in mind while visiting Alzheimer’s patients and loved ones in memory care.
At Westminster Place, we strongly encourage visits. Your loved one will be overjoyed that you want to spend time with them. Call us at 903.329.6520 for more information about our policies on visiting a loved one in memory care.
How Often Should You Visit a Dementia Patient?
You might wonder how often you should visit a dementia patient.
Your relationship with your loved one will determine how often you should visit them in memory care. If you’re used to seeing them every day or every week, it’s a good idea to schedule visits at least once per week. Doing so will help your loved one feel cared for and loved.
Less frequent visits are okay, too. Visiting loved ones in memory care can be distressing and confusing for seniors with memory problems (and their family members). If you’d prefer monthly visits, it’s a good idea to discuss that arrangement in advance.
Visiting Alzheimer’s Patients
Dementia is a general condition of cognitive decline. Many Alzheimer’s patients show symptoms of dementia. However, it’s important to know the difference between the two terms.
When visiting Alzheimer’s patients, remember that their memory will progressively get worse over time. As such, you may not have the same experience every time you visit.
For example, the person you’re seeing might be happy and carefree during one visit, while the next may be full of confusion and aggravation.
Remember that your loved one has a progressive disease and that they’re trying their best.
10 Tips for Visiting Someone with Dementia
You can be yourself and still make visiting loved ones in memory care a meaningful experience. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind during your visit.
1. Remind Your Loved One Who You Are
Dementia and Alzheimer’s both cause memory loss over time. Make sure you clearly state your name and relationship to your loved one when you arrive.
2. Remove All Distractions from the Room
Distracting sounds and sights could make your loved one more confused and agitated during your visit. Do your best to minimize distractions, like your cell phone ringing.
3. Allow for Quiet Time
While visiting is about connecting, make sure you leave room for pauses and silence in your conversations. Otherwise, your loved one might feel overstimulated.
4. Let Your Loved One Lead
If your loved one is aware enough to choose activities or conversation topics for themselves, let them lead the visit.
5. Avoid Gossip and Drama
It’s understandable to want to keep your loved one updated on family news. However, it’s best to keep drama and negative topics at the door to avoid distressing them.
6. Be Patient
This one seems obvious, but patience is key when visiting someone with dementia.
7. Participate in a Relaxing Activity Together
Your visits don’t have to be dull. There are many quiet, relaxing activities you can enjoy with your loved one, including:
- Arts and crafts
- Watching a movie
- Taking a walk outdoors
- Knitting or sewing
These sorts of activities will help reduce agitation and stress for your loved one.
8. Let Them Vent
Many residents in memory care have strong emotions. Sometimes, they just need to vent to someone close to them.
9. Avoid Arguments and Debates
If controversial topics or memory problems come up during your visit, avoid arguing or confronting your loved one, as this can make for a negative visit.
10. Bring Other Relatives
When possible, try to bring other relatives to see your loved one and show that they care.
Find Your Loved One’s Home at Westminster Place
All seniors in need of memory care are welcome to join the Westminster Place community and enjoy relaxing, beneficial therapies and activities. Contact us today at 903.329.6520 to get a placement for your loved one.