Visiting a Loved One in Memory Care? Remember This...
Visiting a loved one with memory care may come with feelings of anxiety or fear. Questions like "What if they don't remember me?" or "What will we talk about?" may be coming to mind. With thoughtful preparation, a visit with your loved one can be an uplifting and joyous experience.
Before you visit, think about topics that you and your loved one can talk about. Experiences from their distant past are good subjects to discuss. Consider bringing a conversational piece to your visit, such as an iPad/photo album with pictures of family, their favorite treat or artwork from a child.
The greeting. Although social convention suggests asking questions when you first greet someone, it may be challenging for someone with dementia to remember key facts. A harmless question like, "What have you been up to?," may be met with silence. Instead, start your conversation with a statement: "It's so nice to see you" or "You are looking well." Then follow up with a compliment, such as, "That blue shirt really brings out the color in your eyes."
Prepare for quiet times, and do not rush the conversation. Your loved one may take longer to process what you are saying. Give them time and try not to overwhelm them with loads of information or questions about what they have been doing.
Patience is key and graciousness is appreciated. Speak simply and softly to them and always try to make eye contact. If you feel there is nothing to say, hold their hand or offer them a shoulder rub. Physical touch can express so much when words are seemingly absent. Click the link below for more tips:
25 Tips for Visiting a Person with Alzheimer's