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January 27, 2023

Vitalia Senior Residences at Stow Discusses How to Have Meaningful Visits With Someone Living With Dementia

Category: Dementia Resources

Author: Kaitlynn Holley, Memory Care Director

Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and other thinking abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. When someone is diagnosed with dementia, at least two parts of the brain are dying. Dementia is progressive, chronic, and terminal, which creates many challenges.  Relationships continue to be vital to families, regardless of a dementia diagnosis. At Vitalia Senior Residences at Stow, we have some ideas and suggestions to help you have successful visits with your loved ones.

Families and friends that come to visit their loved one with dementia have a lot of influence on how the visit will go. Our residents may not have great short-term memory, but they still have the amazing ability to really tune into and be affected by emotions. If visitors come in with good energy and positivity, the visit is much more likely to be successful. Families and friends need to keep this in mind and try to leave their own troubles at the door when coming to visit. You can connect with the resident by reminiscing about happy memories and telling them positive things about what is going on in your day-to-day life.

Another important thing to consider is the time of your visit can have an impact on how successful the visit is. If you know what their daily routine is, you can choose a time that is best for them. Many memory care residents do best mid-morning, after they have had time to wake up and have breakfast. Later in the day can be more difficult for many of our residents, after they have had a full day of exercise and engaging activities. They are ready for less stimulating activity and even a relaxing visit can be very stimulating for some residents. If you aren’t sure what time is best, reach out to us. We are there to support you too and would be more than happy to help you plan.

Once you decide on the best time to visit, walk in with a smile. If your loved one can’t identify you immediately, that’s okay. Don’t ask them to remember or have them guess. Just say “hi” and introduce yourself. To make the most of a visit, you can come prepared with some ideas of things to talk about or favorite snacks and activities of your loved one. Looking through photo albums or listening to music can be a great way to spend some time with them.

The end of the visit can be difficult to navigate, but we are there to help you with that too. If you let us know about how long you will be visiting, we can help make sure that when it is time for you to leave, we are ready to take over and engage them. If there is an activity going on, you taking them to the activity, can help as well. You can tell them that you are leaving, but will see them soon, while we are helping them start their next activity. A long goodbye can make it more difficult. You don’t want to make a big deal out of your leaving, simply reassure them that you love them and will see them soon.

We hope this information has given you some fresh tips and ideas for visiting someone living with dementia. Quality connections are essential for the person living with the disease, as well as yourself. If your visit still doesn’t go well, don’t beat yourself up. Every day is a new day. Be patient and you will figure out what works best. Giving your time to someone living with dementia is the best gift possible. 

VITALIA® Stow in Stow, OH offers senior villas, independent apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include 1804 Restaurant, a 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Conveniently located just off of Hwy 8 at E Steels Corners Road near Akron General Health & Wellness Center with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Fox Den Golf Course, Summit Mall, Bike & Hike – Summit Metro Parks, Stan Hywet, Hale Farm, and Blossom Music Center.

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