How to Have a Great Visit with a Family Member at a Senior Living Community

Aging adults living in senior communities greatly benefit from and appreciate visits with loved ones. These visits are wonderful opportunities to foster connection and create moments of joy. If a resident is experiencing memory loss, it can sometimes be helpful for visitors to adapt their approach in order to find fun, creative ways to engage. To best support the unique needs of the resident and make the most out of the time spent together, family members and caregivers can implement a variety of helpful strategies.

The Importance of Visiting and Communicating with Senior Family Members

Through positive and loving communication, families and caregivers can help their loved one gain and retain their sense of dignity and self-esteem as they age.

Visiting a senior is a great way to show them love, comfort, support, and to help them feel connected to their family.

How to Communicate with Somebody Who Has Memory Loss

People who have dementia or Alzheimer’s gradually begin to lose their ability to communicate and to remember past experiences. To better communicate with your loved one, you can adapt your approach to be more gentle and patient so you can enjoy every meaningful interaction.

Here are some helpful tips to follow to communicate with your loved one with memory loss:

  • Introduce yourself in a friendly way
  • Use a gentle touch when greeting, hugging, or shaking hands
  • Be patient and give your loved one extra time to answer your questions
  • Ask about events from their distant past, like childhood or young adulthood (people with Alzheimer’s keep their long term memory longer)
  • Try to avoid asking about recent events (short term memory is significantly impaired for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia)
  • Ask only one question at a time
  • Use a soft, gentle voice when speaking
  • Remind your loved one that you are related and know each other

How to Get the Most from a Visit During COVID-19

Family members wishing to visit their loved ones will need to navigate ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines to get the most out of their visit. While our team is 100% vaccinated here at Kensington Park, it is important to continue to adhere to current protocols to ensure the safety of all our residents.

As the Delta variant causes COVID-19 cases to rise, many assisted living communities may change their visitation policy to protect the health and safety of their senior residents.

However, there are many ways to visit and engage with family members thanks to videoconferencing technology and mail delivery.

Before scheduling your visit to see your loved one, make sure to contact their assisted living or memory care community to learn about the current visitation policy.

If their community isn’t currently allowing outside visitors, contact their community to see if they allow for FaceTime, Skype, or phone calls and if they have a staff member who can help your loved one get on the call.

If your loved one has favorite snacks, consider sending them a goodie bag with a handwritten note and a photograph from your family.

Fun Activities for a Senior Loved One

Depending on your loved one’s community visitation rules, there are still many fun ways to engage them, either in-person or remotely.

People in all stages of aging are encouraged to participate in shared activities with their loved ones, whether it’s creating photo albums or just sitting together and listening to music.

These activities are suitable for the whole family, such as grandchildren, spouses, children, and siblings.

Whether your loved one is experiencing memory loss, and how advanced it is, will determine the types of shared activities that may be best for them. We’ve provided some suggestions for activities below:

Activities for Seniors with no Memory Loss or Early Stage Memory Loss

  • Talk about past events from their early life, like asking about their favorite activities from when they were children or teenagers
  • Look through photo albums or create new photo albums
  • Play simple games, such as puzzles
  • Take a walk together
  • Share a meal together

Middle Stage Memory Loss Activities

  • Listen to music 
  • Sing and dance 
  • Pray or worship 
  • Paint and create art 
  • Play simple games

Late Stage Memory Loss Activities

  • Hold hands, hug, and smile
  • Massage hands with lotion
  • Sing and listen to music
  • Use a very gentle touch
  • Offer sweet treats and favorite snacks

How Assisted Living and Memory Care Benefits Seniors

70% of aging seniors past the age of 65 will begin to rely on some form of long-term healthcare, with memory loss affecting a significant portion of these people.

The role of caregiver is often performed by the daughter, son, or spouse of the person with memory loss. 

As a caregiver, you’re likely concerned about your loved one wandering off or falling at home. As Alzheimer’s and dementia progress, you may find it difficult to provide the level of care and supervision your loved one may require.

Transitioning your loved one with memory loss into an assisted living or memory care community can give families peace of mind about the well-being and safety of their loved one. 

With routine wellness checks, a staff of licensed nurses, on-site rehabilitation, life enrichment activities, wellness classes, and dining services, your loved one will be placed in a safe atmosphere with easy access to all the amenities and services they’ll require to stay happy and safe.

Increased socialization and engagement through fun classes and events are proven to benefit the brain and lower anxiety and depression, which means your loved one will be able to live a longer and happier life.

Find Comfort and Care at Kensington Park Senior Living

Kensington Park Senior Living is an enhanced independent living, assisted living, and memory care community located in Kensington, Maryland.

Our Enhanced Assisted Living Residence (EALR) license is uniquely suited toward helping seniors experiencing memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s and dementia. Thanks to this license, all of our residents can age in place in our community, even if their healthcare needs begin to change.

At Kensington Park Senior Living, we have three distinct memory care neighborhoods — the Kensington Club, Connections, and Haven.

Each community is carefully designed to benefit people experiencing memory loss and offer families and caregivers extra peace of mind knowing their loved ones are safe and secure.

  • The Kensington Club is a program we offer in Assisted Living for residents experiencing the beginning stages of cognitive impairment. It serves as a bridge of support prior to a resident transitioning to one of our memory care residences (in a separate building).
  • Connections is suited for residents with moderate stages of memory loss, and has a 1:7 staff to resident ratio.
  • Haven is for residents in the advanced stages of memory loss, and has a 1:5 staff to resident ratio.

At Kensington Park Senior Living, we seek ways to capitalize on our residents’ strengths and to help families find ways to enjoy the beauty of special moments with their loved ones.

We extend Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.

If you have a loved one who’s experiencing memory loss and needs more assistance, then please contact us today to learn more about how our community can help you.