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12 Tips for Visiting a Family Member in Assisted Living

Visiting a father or mother in assisted living is so important. While you were growing up they devoted themselves to you for many years and now you are devoting time to be with them.

Here are 12 great tips for assisted living visits to see your loved one:

  1. Visit regularly! Be consistent. Set realistic expectations on visiting your loved one and commit! When uncontrollable scheduling issues arise, communicate with your loved one directly and be honest. Reschedule and let them know and confirm with your loved one’s care providers.
  2. Stay for a reasonable length of time. One hour of quality dedicated time interacting with your loved one is a good length.
  3. Plan how to use the time. Plan how you intend to use the time with your loved one. Bring things to share and discuss, such as photos since you last saw them or experiences with your own children, such as sporting events, school functions and other family together time. Allow for time to listen to your loved one’s questions, give them opportunities to share their life experiences and stories.
  4. Be positive. Being positive with your loved one is so important to their mental wellbeing. Be positive in your communication and find the positive in what you share and what they share with you.
  5. Be patient. Remember your parent was patient with you when you were young. Be patient with them as your father or mother.
  6. Be understanding. Put yourself in their shoes. Empathize that, as people, we will all experience aging.
  7. Share what is on your mind. Share your thoughts with your loved one. They care about you and think about you. Confide in them, as their life experiences and stories may give you guidance for your own life and decisions.
  8. Bring your children. Bringing your children to visit your father or mother can be a positive, meaningful experience for both. Your children can understand the past in a very real way, giving them the ability to reflect on their origins. Your parent can gain experience about how the world has changed for youth and the challenges youth face. Time with your children will keep you parent’s mind active, with lively conversations with children of all ages to stimulate and keep their social skills sharp.
  9. Walk with them. If your loved one is physically able and the weather permits, take walks with them during your visit. Walking is natural, and along with having a conversation, is good for both the body and the mind. As a bonus, you will get some exercise in your day too!
  10. Bring a visit bag. Keep a visit bag aside for you to add items to share with your loved one upon your next visit. If they love reading about a particular celebrity, bring newspaper clippings or fun facts about that celebrity. If they love sports, share stories about athletes in the news. If they have a hobby, bring a book, article or other item related to that hobby with you for them to keep. Who doesn’t like a gift that is something you are passionate about?
  11. Be present. Make a commitment to have uninterrupted quality time with your loved one. Silence your phone and don’t respond to calls or texts. Tell your children to be respectful and give their undivided attention. Your loved one looks forward to your visits. Those calls and texts of yours can wait.
  12. Love them. Tell them you love them. Use the words “I love you” and make sure they understand you.


Here are two freebies from Carillon Assisted Living!

  1. Get to know your extended family. Get to know all the people who are providing care and services to your parent. Listen to feedback from them on how your loved one is doing. Developing rapport with care providers is useful, and if you take the time to get to know them on a first name basis, they will be able to readily share useful information with you on your loved one’s activities between your visits.
  2. Thank your parent’s caregiver. Let your parent’s caregiver know that they are part of your extended family. Caregivers are people who appreciate positive, constructive feedback. It lets them know you care and are engaged as a team in caring for your father or mother.

Reuel Heyden | Director of Media & Communications
Carillon Assisted Living

Posted in Alzheimer's and Dementia Care, Assisted Living Tagged , , , on October 3, 2016

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