Visiting grandma in assisted living can be uncomfortable if you don’t know what to expect and how to handle the visit. But, if you go prepared, it can be one of the most enjoyable days you’ve both had in a long time! Remember that there is more to grandma as a person than her memory or abilities to do certain things. And YOU are a vital link to her identity as a whole person – with emotional, social, and spiritual concerns.
General Guidelines for Visiting
- Keep visits simple. Too many tasks, people, or activities can become overwhelming. Tap into grandma’s remaining strengths to draw out the person inside and create moments of joy.
- Choose a quiet, comfortable, setting for your visit. Try to limit distractions and excess noise. Porches and quiet sitting rooms make an excellent environment to spend time together.
- Adjust your expectations appropriately. Don’t expect grandma to interact the way she used to. Looking at a flower or sipping a milkshake can be a simple and pleasant way to spend time together. Be present and live in the moment.
- Be flexible. What may work one visit may not work for the next. Be prepared to deviate from your original planned activities.
- Remember that your grandma may respond differently than she used to. It is important to recognize that this is part of the process, and not related to anything that you did. Talk to the Assisted Living Director about ideas for meaningful visits.
- If Grandma becomes upset, don’t take it personally. She may be trying to communicate an unmet need or be tired or distracted.
Suggested Activities for your Visit
Music is Magical
- Find and listen to music that your grandma used to enjoy and play it during your visit.
- Use music to bring about a discussion about old memories.
- Music can also make your grandma want to move and dance – encourage movement if it is safe and have fun with it. Dance for, or with. Don’t be inhibited!
- Encourage singing and sing along – don’t worry if you or grandma “can’t sing”.
- Just looking at old albums can also be fun.
Touch is Healing
- Give your grandma a hand massage with some scented lotion if she likes the smell. This is a chance to hold her hand, look into her eyes, and convey your love and care.
- Scratch her back. We all love our back scratched and can never get too much of it. She may even want to scratch your back too!
- Pamper her with makeup, perfume, aftershave, or a manicure.
- Rub her shoulders in an effort to relieve muscle tension and encourage relaxation.
- Be aware of painful areas or skin lesions.
Contact us to learn more about how to prepare for your visit with grandma or another loved one. We love our residents and their families and enjoy helping you stay connected on a deep and meaningful level! If you are looking for a place for your loved one to call home, find out if our personal care cottages are the right option for you and your family.