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January 27, 2023

Vitalia Active Adult Community – Montrose Discusses How to Have Meaningful Visits With Someone Living With Dementia

Category: Dementia Resources

Author: Sydney Krieger, 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 Active Adult Community – Montrose we have some ideas and suggestions to help you have successful visits with your loved ones.

A family member or friend visiting a loved one definitely impacts a visit. Seeing your loved one with a positive attitude and friendly smile can set the tone for the whole visit. It is important the visitors stay clear of asking “Do you remember” questions or quizzing their loved one if they know who they are. Your loved one may recognize your face but may not be able to pinpoint exactly who you are and your name. Residents remember how you make them feel during your visit.

Some things a family member can do to make a visit pleasant for someone with dementia is bring stories and pictures. Sharing stories from current grandchildren or showing pictures of their family always brings a smile to one’s face. Having a family member join in an event is a great way to get your loved one involved, and still have a meaningful visit.

There can be better times than others to visit someone with dementia. Asking staff and the team your loved one’s routine, can help you learn the best time to visit. For example, some residents experience sundowning in the afternoon and evening, so it may be best to visit them in the morning or right after lunch. Of course, every day is different for someone living with dementia, where one time may work well, it may not be an ideal time the next.

The best way to end a visit with someone with dementia is a sweet, short goodbye. Telling your loved one you must start cooking for lunch or dinner for the family, or that you have to pick up the kids, is a good way to end your visit. It is always good to reassure your loved one that you will be back soon, they are safe, and that you love them. If ending a visit is difficult, you might consider getting them involved with staff, other residents, or an event before you excuse yourself.

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® Montrose in Copley, OH offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near Cleveland Clinic with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Mud Run Golf Course and Driving Range, Summit Mall, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Summit County Metro Park, Stan Hywet, and Hale Farm.

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