We know how precious visits are, to both our residents and to you! So, to help you both get the most out of your visit, we’ve come up with some top tips: from the best time to call in, to activities you can do together, our suggestions are a great way to switch things up, so you both continue to look forward to them.
Get Your Timing Right
If you find your visits tend to be after work, the school run or making dinner… why not try visiting during the day if you can? Evenings aren’t always the best time to visit, as older people tend to get tired earlier, and for those living with dementia, evenings can be a particularly difficult time, as symptoms of the disease, such as agitation and confusion, can become more pronounced. A bonus of daytime visits is that you may find your loved one more alert, or eager to join in an activity with you.
Just double check your visit doesn’t clash with mealtimes, or one of our planned activities or trips, by checking the noticeboard, or ringing ahead.
A Friendly Format
We’ve shared posts in the past, with specific tips about starting a conversation with a relative or friend living with dementia which you can read here. Another way you can tailor your visit to someone living with dementia is to give the person you are visiting choices to make them more comfortable and relaxed, adapting the format of the visit to suit them. You could ask them which room they would like to sit in; or if they would like a drink or something to eat; or if they would like to go for a walk. By letting the person with dementia decide the format of the visit, it will make them feel valued and independent.
Bring a Friend
Whether this is a pet (double check with the manager), a family friend or relative they may not have seen for a while, or your children, adding a new person to the mix will liven up your conversation and make your loved one feel special. You could even organise a virtual visit from someone that lives far away via a Skype call, or in the form of a letter that you can read aloud.
The Perfect Project
If you have a job that your loved one can help with then bring it with you! It could be shelling peas from your garden, or perhaps arranging some flowers that you have cut, or even pairing socks! Performing this task together will give your family member a sense of purpose and stimulate conversation. If you don’t have any jobs that you could bring, then how about embarking on a project together? If your loved one is fond of knitting, or crochet, you could start on something like a blanket, and then work on it each time you visit. Or perhaps you could create a collage of old photos, which would be great for sparking memories.
Get Some Fresh Air
This could be in our beautiful, peaceful and secure on-site gardens, or, if your loved one has good mobility, in one of the lovely parks that neighbour our homes. A lot of our homes have gardening clubs, growing fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers: you and your loved one would be more than welcome to do a bit of weeding and pruning. Not only is this fun and rewarding, it is also a very beneficial form of gentle exercise. Fresh air is also great for concentration, perhaps you could take your usual game of scrabble or bridge outside, you could be amazed at the results!
We hope our tips will help bring some sparkle to your visits and ensure that the time you and your loved one spend together is fun, stimulating and enjoyable for both of you.