Sometimes, the best place for your loved one is in the nursing home. They offer round-the-clock care that will keep your loved one healthy for as long as possible, but it’s easy for them to feel a little lonely and detached from family when they no longer live at home.
One of the best things you can do is visit your loved one frequently, but what do you do when you get there?
Keep a Close Eye on Their Health
The first thing you should do is keep a close eye on their health. Although most nursing homes have good intentions, the grind of everyday life, poor management, and other challenges can cause patients to be neglected or mistreated. For your peace of mind and the health of your loved one, there are a few things you should check for every time you visit.
Does it look like your loved one hasn’t moved from the bed for a long time? Soreness and redness can be the first signs of bedsores and should be addressed immediately before long-term damage is done to the skin.
Keep your eye open for cleanliness and tidiness. You should easily be able to find handwashing stations and hand sanitizer, and community areas should be free of clutter.
Bring Things From Home
Wondering what you’re going to do with your loved one in the nursing home? One of the easiest and best ways to pass the time is to bring something from home.
Not only can it be fun to share things from home, but it can also help your loved one feel more connected to your family, their old life, and their old home. A few ideas of things you can bring from home include:
- Old and new photographs can boost your loved one’s happiness.
- Little ones can bring and share art, high test scores, and other things from school.
- Puzzles and movies can give you something to do during your visit.
- Art and craft supplies can be left behind to give them something to do when you leave.
Consider the Length of Your Stay
You know you should visit, but you should also consider the length of your stay. If your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s, there are certain ways you should try to communicate, but that can make visiting intimidating. Instead of planning one longer visit, consider more frequent, shorter visits. It’s better for dementia patients, and it can help you get used to visiting too.
If you are able, you can ask your loved one what they would like from your visits. Are there certain times they would like you to come, or suggestions on how long they would like you to stay?
Let Them Take the Lead
Everyone reacts to living in a nursing home differently. Some wish they could return home and want to talk about the old days, while others fully ingratiate themselves into nursing home life and have new friends and activities they want to tell you about. You’re visiting to brighten your loved one’s day, so why not let them take the lead? That means being a good listener.
Ask how your loved one is doing and see how they respond. Listen if they want to talk about an old memory, and be willing to walk around the nursing home if they want to show you around. It will make them feel like you’re there because you care.
Plan Something They Can Look Forward To
Staying in a nursing home can be fun, but not all residents feel that way. Some are there because they have to be, and not because they want to be. Others have been living in a nursing home for a while and are simply getting bored. It can be very helpful to plan something your loved one can look forward to.
For example, discuss your plans for the upcoming holiday and how you are going to include your loved one. If they are well enough, you may be able to take them home to celebrate for the day. If it is unsafe for them to leave, plan to have dinner with them at the nursing home.
Visiting the nursing home doesn’t mean you have to sit on the couch and twiddle your thumbs until it’s time to leave. With the tips on this list, you can safeguard your loved one’s health, you can ensure they have a good time during your visit, and you can make sure you have a good time too.