There are a lot of reasons some people are apprehensive about visiting elderly love ones. Some of them have to do with the facility. Maybe it smells bad or maybe it just feels like a sad place to be. We can assure you these shouldn’t be concerns if your loved one is living in a Senior Care Centers facility. No matter where your loved one is living, regular visits are important for many reasons. According to the National Institute of Aging, loneliness in seniors can contribute depression and even serious diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Not only will routine visits be good for your relationship with them, but also their health. It’s normal to have apprehensions, but don’t let fear, dread, or guilt, keep you two apart.
- Time your visits appropriately
Routines can be helpful to make people of any age feel secure and organized. Surprising an elderly loved one whenever you have a moment to spare may not be as good of an idea as it sounds. You could catch them at a time when they are busy, tired, or just not feeling up for a visit. Planning your visits ahead of time will give you and your loved one something to look forward to and prepare for. Setting up a routine, or planning ahead, will allow both of you to have a meaningful visit without disrupting your own lives.
- Adjust How You Communicate
Often, some of the fear or hesitance about visiting elderly loved ones stems from social anxiety. It’s natural to feel a little self-conscious about what to say or how to act. As your loved ones age, a lot of changes occur in their health and living situation. For some, visits can bring up sadness and painful memories. Just remember that these visits aren’t just about you. Your loved one cherishes your visits, whether or not they start out a little bit awkwardly. To get past any initial awkwardness, it can be helpful to adjust your communication style. Raise your voice a little if necessary and minimize background noise to make it easier for your loved one to hear you. Don’t forget to maintain eye contact and be mindful of your body language as well. The best way to get the most out of your visit is to show your loved one, through verbal and nonverbal communication, that you are happy to spend this time with them.
- Come prepared
Another way to assuage any initial awkwardness is to come prepared. Have a couple things in mind that you want to talk about, such as updates about the grandkids, good news from work, or stories from a recent vacation. It can also be helpful to bring some materials with you, like recent photos or videos, to share. Often, elderly loved ones will enjoy reminiscing or sharing memories. Don’t be discouraged if an elderly loved one seems more excited to talk about a family vacation from ten years ago than your new job. The past is a conversation topic you can both relate and contribute to, so it can be helpful to bring along some old family photos or memorabilia.
- Be realistic
One important aspect of having great visits with elderly loved ones is being realistic about what to expect. Everyone ages differently, meaning your elderly loved one may or may not be able to do all of the things they used to. Realize what is easiest, most comfortable, and most enjoyable for them now. When planning your visits be considerate of what will be most conducive to a pleasant visit for both of you.
At Senior Care Centers, we want you to have an enjoyable visit with your loved one. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know.