3 Questions to Ask Before Visiting Your Loved One

Bethesda Health | March 10, 2016

Before visiting your loved ones in their skilled nursing or assisted living community, you can make sure the visit is appropriate and safe by considering the following questions:

Is Everyone Healthy?CI1H0077wb

First and foremost, if you or anyone in your family is sick, it is best to hold off on that visit. Seniors tend to get ill more easily than younger people due to weakened immune systems or other health problems. Even coughing and sneezing can be indicative of a reason to save the visit for another time, when everyone is feeling better.

Are You Going at a Convenient Time?

Show respect to your loved one and their home by calling ahead or arranging for a regular time for a visit. In doing so, you can make sure your visit is convenient for them and they don’t have other activities scheduled.

Also, take the time to figure out how long you can stay. Is it going to be a quick hello, , or do you have an afternoon planned? In many cases, it is best to also alert their community at least a week beforehand so they can plan accordingly. That way, no one is inconvenienced.

In addition, calling ahead with plans will also give your loved one something else to look forward to.

Is it Appropriate to Bring a Young Child?

If your baby or toddler hasn’t eaten or had a nap yet, it’s a good idea to hold off on bringing them to visit. While children are a breath of fresh air and your loved one will enjoy seeing and spending time with them, the visit can be stressful for everyone if the child is tired or cranky.

Also, if your child is scared of going, remain positive and take them on a tour of the community with your loved one, like to the garden or game room. By exploring the community and finding some rooms that they especially like to go to, the child will feel more comfortable and perhaps eager to come back to visit.

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, discuss with your older children beforehand what the illness means and what to expect. For example, if they’re asked the same questions by the elder loved one multiple times, they should answer them patiently, and with a smile, as it will make the loved one feel good. Also, suggest to your children that they ask about your loved one’s past, which will make them feel comfortable and happy.

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