How Often Should You Visit A Parent In Assisted Living?

January 14, 2019
old senior woman with young granddaughter at home looking at memory in family photo album

For those not familiar with assisted living communities, the thought of walking through those front doors on a regular basis can be a bit … well, uncomfortable.

There are a number of reasons loved ones may not visit a parent in long-term care facilities. Children who arranged for their parents to move may be feeling guilty for getting Mom or Dad out of their longtime home.

Maybe the parent has dementia and isn’t cognitively what they once were, or perhaps the fear of awkward conversations or lack of things to talk about may prevent some from visiting their loved one as often as either would prefer.

While there is no definite answer to the frequency with which you should visit your loved one, Embassy HealthCare offers the following suggestions for making the most of your time with them:

  1. Know your parent: Are they the social type, quick to make friends and get comfortable in their new surroundings. Check in with how they’re acclimating to get a sense on how they’re doing in their new home. If they’re lonely or struggling to adjust, make a point to get there more frequently if you’re able to do so.
  2. Take care of yourself: Even if you want to spend multiple hours with your parent every day, everyday life can make that difficult or impossible. Your work, children, spouse and friends are also important aspects of your life that need attention as well. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t manage it all every day.
  3. Plan your visits: Does your loved one have the most energy in the morning or after a meal? Schedule your visits accordingly, which will help optimize your time together and set the tone for the rest of their day.
  4. Be mindful of your nonverbal communication: Model positivity by smiling and being friendly to other residents and staff. Sit at eye level with your parent and make eye contact, letting them know you’re there for them.
  5. Bring items from the past: Help relive favorite memories by bringing in items they used to enjoy or photographs of family and friends. Consider bringing in a favorite food item of theirs or if allowed, bring in a family pet.
  6. Don’t be intimidated by dementia: If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may be worried about the conversation going in circles or afraid it will be too difficult seeing them in that mental state. Try to remember that even if their responses aren’t what they once were, it’s still important to be a positive factor in their life.

For more information on Embassy Healthcare communities, call us at 888-975-1379, schedule a tour of our facilities or contact us online.