Tips for Visiting a Loved One in a Nursing Home

We found an article on that offers tips when visiting a loved one in a nursing home. The New York State Office for the Aging mentions a few things to look for to ensure family members are getting proper care and to make the most of your time together.

Be attentive to the resident’s appearance: In the article, Mark Miller, the state ombudsman, said, “Do they appear clean and properly dressed? Do they appear well-cared for?” According to Miller, the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program usually sees a rise in complaints about facilities after the holidays. He recommends bringing any problems that you notice to the attention of the facility’s administration immediately. “Clearly identify what the problem is, approach the administrator or director of nursing or a social worker in the facility to express the problem, indicate what you think would be an appropriate solution and ask for a time frame in which it will be corrected,” he said.

Call the facility before visiting: Call ahead to confirm the best time to visit and to see if you can join in any activities. It’s best to avoid any time when your family member usually naps.

Bringing children and teenagers: Young children can be a delightful diversion for the nursing home resident, but older children may have more difficulty. Talk to teenagers before the visit so they are prepared for how a grandparent may look or act. Or, plan an activity for them to share with the nursing home resident ahead of the visit such as looking through pictures in a photo album.

For family members with demetia: Visiting a nursing home resident who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult and requires a good dose of patience. Kathy Campbell, admissions coordinator for Kingsway Arms Nursing Center in Schenectady, NY, recommends the following, “If they are forgetful, don’t try to bring them into reality. When you try to orient someone who is not oriented, it just increases frustration.”

Visiting a loved one in a nursing home can stir up emotions and cause apprehension. But preparation ahead of your visit can help to make it an enjoyable and lasting memory.

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