Portrait of adult granddaughter with senior grandmother on walk in park, with roses at background

How to Have a Positive Visit to Memory Care

If your older parent or loved one has dementia, you may not know what to expect when you visit them in memory care. Some family members fear their loved one will not remember them. Others feel anxious about what to say or how to behave.

The truth is, visiting a loved one in memory care can be unpredictable and sometimes uncomfortable. Fortunately, with advanced preparation, your time together can be just as meaningful as it was prior to the diagnosis. Here are some practical ways to ensure a positive visit the next time you visit.

Prioritize your loved one’s schedule.

Plan visits for the time of day when your loved one is usually at their best. If your loved one sleeps in, a visit after lunch may be best. If they are early risers, consider visiting first thing in the morning when they have more energy. When possible, avoid evening visits due to sundowning, a state of restlessness, agitation or confusion that people with dementia experience in the later hours of the day.

Similarly, consider the length of your visit. Usually regular, shorter visits are better than infrequent, longer visits. When visits are sporadic or too long, it is more likely that your loved one will grow tired, irritable or overwhelmed.

Keep communication simple.

Communicating with someone who has dementia requires patience and understanding. As the disease progresses, your loved one’s ability to communicate will change. Some basic tips for successful communication include:

  • Speak with a clear and calm voice.
  • Minimize outside distractions such as a loud tv that can make it more difficult for them to hear and process information.
  • Use short sentences and familiar words or phrases.
  • Ask yes or no questions to ask questions.
  • Use non-verbal communication, such as holding their hand or giving them a hug.

Make your visits meaningful.

Spend time doing an activity together when you visit as an effective way to connect with your loved one. Bring special items from home, like photographs, a favorite treat or a game. Other simple ideas include arranging flowers, placing pictures in an album, doing a puzzle or taking a walk outside. Stay in the moment and be present each visit to show your loved one you care.

Continue to visit, even as the disease progresses.

As your loved one’s disease progresses, it will likely become more challenging to spend time with them. They may not recognize you or they may be agitated more easily. Remember to be patient and continue to visit them when you can to show support.

Memory Care at Country Place Senior Living

Spending time with someone living with dementia can feel overwhelming and intimidating. Preparing in advance and knowing as much as possible about the disease can help make these visits meaningful and fulfilling. Talk to your loved one’s memory care team for suggestions if you’re still unsure about how to make the most of your visits.

At Country Place Senior Living, we encourage families to visit memory residents as much as possible. Our unique memory care residence is uniquely designed to mirror the comforts of home. Our professional and compassionate caregivers work hard to tailor both their care for residents and support for their family members. As a result, families have a greater opportunity for quality interaction with their loved ones.

To learn more about our memory care community, schedule an in-person tour today.

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