Many people worry that they are not visiting their loved ones with dementia enough, and the guilt can feel overwhelming. Life is busy. We understand.
How often should you visit someone with dementia? This is a tricky question because there is no one-size-fits-all answer. We recognize that you care about your loved one, and we believe that making the most out of your time together is what matters most.
Quality Visits vs. Quantity of Visits
The circumstances in your loved one’s life, as well as yours, are the best measuring tools in determining how often you should visit.
Frequent visits during the first few weeks after your loved one moves to a memory care community can help them settle into their new environment. You are the one that knows your loved one’s preferences—their likes and dislikes. Your loved one may not be able to articulate all or any of this, so your input will help to ensure that a smoother transition with a greater level of comfort takes place. Your initial visits bring familiarity into your loved one’s environment, which can decrease anxiety and prevent agitation.
As your loved one becomes accustomed to their new routine and community, you can begin to ease off from visiting frequently. Consider visiting every other day, and then you might stretch it out to every third or fourth day. This can be beneficial for both you and your loved one. Your loved one will begin to socialize and feel comfortable in their new community, and you will experience the peace of knowing that your loved one is happy and well cared for.
So how often should you visit a loved one in memory care?
The factors that go into deciding how often a visit is necessary is unlimited, but the key things to focus on are:
Predictable Routine Visits
When your visit falls into a predictable routine it is not only helpful to you, as it forms up your schedule, but it also helps to eliminate anxiety in your loved one as they foresee your visit, and it becomes a part of their routine.
Ensure your visits allow time for you to interact with your loved one, rather than scheduling your visit during their activity time. This helps to build a sense of caring and connection into your visit, which is reassuring to a person with dementia. They may not remember who you are each time that you visit, but they do remember that you care about them.
Talk with staff to determine the optimal time(s) to schedule your visits.
Less Can Be More (Shortened Visits)
Visits can feel mentally and physically exhaustive to caregivers. Even though your loved one may enjoy having you visit, they may similarly tire out from longer visits.
Consider visiting for 20 minutes a day, several times a week, as opposed to a one-hour visit once a week. Shortening the length of your visit can make it more enjoyable and fruitful, as well as less agitating for your loved one, and you as well.
Tips for a Caring Visit
Your familiar face and your attitude of “I know you, and I care about you” help to make your visit uplifting and therapeutic for your loved one. Bring that mindset with you to your visit and try to leave feelings of worry or guilt behind.
Make any time that you have with your loved one a caring visit through simple measures, such as: addressing your loved one by their name, maintaining eye contact so they know that you are listening, and talking about previous interests, hobbies, and happy memories.
Remember, your visit is about caring and connection. Your visits go miles in helping your loved one avoid depression and feelings of isolation. Keep in mind, though, there is a difference between loneliness and isolation.
Isolation is often described as detachment, solitude, segregation, confinement, and obscurity. So, clearly, an elderly patient that is kept in confinement, away from social relationships or contact, could be described as “in isolation”.
Loneliness is often described as a feeling of detachment, separation, desolation, isolation, aloneness, or desertion. Elderly patients with dementia are especially prone to these types of feelings which can accompany depression and anxiety even when a person is not isolated entirely from others.
These are the reasons we believe in our tuned-in professional staff who personally know each individual and attend to their needs. We go beyond having a simple association with each resident, instead, we strive to know your loved one’s likes, dislikes, favorites, and we ensure it folds into personal attention for each resident.
We strive for community. Surrounding each resident with community, in a smaller group setting, helps to alleviate any sense of confinement.
We Welcome Your Visits
This is home, not a medical institution. Visitors are always welcome!
We are happy to announce that in-person family visits have reopened in our facility.
Due to current health regulations regarding COVID-19 in Texas, all families must schedule a visit in order to see their loved one in an assisted living community. Use the calendar to schedule your visit here.