When visiting your loved one with memory loss, it can be hard to know what to expect. You want a positive experience and to spend quality time with them, but there’s a chance the experience might not be what you had expected. Memory loss can cause many changes in seniors, including a shift in what they can participate in, what activities they enjoy and how they may react on any given day. No day is the same for a loved one with memory loss, and that increases the need to adapt, expect the unexpected and maximize visits with your loved one.
According to DeeAnne Helton, Executive Director at CountryHouse, a memory care community in Granite Bay, CA, memory loss can rob many families of the ability to connect and engage with their loved one. “As memory loss progresses, it becomes increasingly important to find ways to form connections with your loved one and try new things in order to really maximize your visits,” says DeeAnne. “No matter if your loved one with memory loss is living at home or in a memory care community, there are ways that you can make visits both positive and fulfilling. You just need to get a little creative and have an open mind.”
5 Ways to Maximize Visits In-Home and at a Memory Care Community
Visiting a loved one with memory loss at their home can be very different from visiting them in a memory care community. Some aspects of your visit may need to be altered or tailored in order to maximize the benefits of the visit. Consider some of the following points to make your visit successful.
- Arrive at the right time. There are often times where your loved one is more lucid and more at ease with guests. When you visit your loved one with memory loss at their home, try to plan for a time that you know they will be more alert. It can be easier to just drop in and have a quick visit, but visiting at a memory care community may be a little more difficult, but not for the reasons you may think.Call the staff ahead of time to see if your loved one is up for a visit or to choose the time that is best for them, as they may be participating in one of the many programs that a memory care community offers. Plan visits when they are free in order to ensure they won’t feel rushed. Also, keep in mind if the community has set visitor hours that need to be adhered to.
- Limit the amount of people. While this may be obvious, there’s generally a difference in the amount of guests seniors with memory loss can handle. At home, there may be more space for more people, but that doesn’t mean you should bring the whole family, as your loved one can become overwhelmed. Limit the amount of guests and switch them out each visit so everyone gets a chance to spend time.The concept of limiting the amount of guests also applies to visiting seniors in a memory care community. Ask the community about their guest policies. Do they limit guests to a certain amount of people? Are there age or health restrictions on who can see your loved one? Be sure to ask ahead of time.
- Minimize distractions. Loved ones with memory loss may have a harder time dealing with distractions, lots of people or overwhelming activities. When visiting those with memory loss at their home, keep that in mind. Try minimizing distractions by turning off the television, having children keep their voices down and creating a calm environment.Memory care communities often have an environment that is calm and quiet for seniors with memory loss. They also provide community rooms and quiet areas where families can meet with their loved one, allowing them to focus more on the time they are spending together than minimizing the amount of distractions around them.
- Bring back or talk about positive memories. Bringing up memories with your loved one not only helps them to connect and engage with who they once were, but it also allows you to bond and learn things about your loved one that you may not have known. Watch old family videos they may have at home, or bring out some of the photo albums to help spark conversation.Try making them a memory box filled with objects and items that could help them remember things about their past. It can also help to bring them a small gift of something they would remember from their childhood, such as a stuffed animal of their favorite pet.
- Do an activity they can participate in. When your loved one is up for participating in an activity, try to tailor it to where they are in their memory loss. If they used to love to bake, bake and decorate cookies with your loved one. Not only is this a great form of entertainment and a change in their routine but it’s a great form of art therapy. Go for a walk or take your loved one on an outing if they are up for it.In memory care communities, you might be able to participate in activities with your loved one that are specially tailored to those with memory loss. They may provide activities such as art therapy, music therapy or even group exercise classes that you can be a part of. Many also offer trips and outings to community events or you can take your loved one on an outing yourself.
Treating people like family is at the heart of what we do.
CountryHouse at Granite Bay is the very first CountryHouse location in California. With a desirable location among Folsom Lake and the Sierra foothills, and only 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, Granite Bay was the perfect area to place our upscale memory care community. While CountryHouse at Granite Bay may be brand new to California, we are certainly not new to the needs of seniors. And just like every CountryHouse around the United States, we know that personalized care can make all the difference when it comes to quality care and peace of mind.
At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we provide personalized memory care in an environment that is beautiful and thoughtfully designed. Full of natural light, warmth and tasteful elegance, we want residents and their families to feel welcome and at home. In fact, our staff members are even hand-picked based on their natural empathy. Our staff learns each resident’s story, from their likes and dislikes,to their values and their pasts, in order to customize care and make meaningful connections that provide residents with true moments of joy and the desire to make the most of each day.
With our LifeCycles wellness programming, we encourage residents to connect, engage and enjoy every day. Our LifeCycles programming is designed to focus on the four dimensions of wellness: physical, social, spiritual and intellectual. We achieve this through a range of daily activities and routines, which can include daily bus rides, cookouts, trips and other special events. At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we strive to make sure our residents make the most of each day, and we believe that when you treat people like family, and keep that at the heart of what you do, residents, their families and their health thrive. Contact us to learn more!
Connect with us today or call us at 916•778•9665 for more information or to schedule a visit.
CountryHouse is part of the Agemark family of senior living communities.