When visiting a loved one who lives in a memory care community, you may not know exactly what to expect. If you have never had a loved one with memory loss or met anyone dealing with it before, you may be completely blindsided by how they act or who they have become. If you’ve never been to a memory care community, it can be a lot to take in. It’s important to know how to prepare yourself and other friends and family members before visiting a loved one in a memory care community, in order to have the most successful visit possible.
According to Ryan Carney, Executive Director at Travanse Living™ at Wheaton, an Assisted Living and Enlight Memory Care community in Wheaton, IL, preparing for a visit to a memory care community is crucial, especially for those who have never experienced this before. “It’s common for the loved ones of seniors with memory loss to think that memory care communities are stale, hospital-like environments where residents wander the halls or sit around with nothing to do,” says Ryan. “These days, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a lot of misconceptions about both memory care communities and seniors with memory loss, and many times these misconceptions can cause family members to not want to see their loved ones in the memory care community. It’s time to break that cycle and change the way society looks at memory care communities and seniors with memory loss in general.”
How To Prepare for Visiting Your Loved One in Memory Care
When you are visiting a loved one in a memory care community, it’s important to find ways to prepare ahead of time and to know what to expect so you are not surprised. Try following some of these tips to make visiting your family member or friend with memory loss easier.
Keep an open mind. Memory care isn’t what you thought it would be. Seniors with memory loss are often engaged in programming, from art and music therapy to exercise classes and other clubs. It’s also important to keep an open mind when it comes to your loved one. They may not react to seeing you like they usually would, in fact, they may not even want to do any activities you have planned to do together. Keeping an open mind and adapting your plans can help to prepare you for a visit that might not fit your version of successful.
Know what time of day is best to visit. Because there are so many programs going on, it can help to call ahead and ask when is a good time to visit your loved one. Memory care staff will know their schedule and what they are likely doing, so they can let you know when a good time to stop by will be. His or her memory care staff can also provide insight on when to go based on when your loved one is at their best mentally and is less likely to become agitated or upset.
Talk to the staff to see how your loved one is doing. If you are unsure of how your loved one is doing, talk to their memory care team. They can warn you in advance of any alarming changes in your loved one’s memory loss and help to better prepare you for your visit. If their memory loss has gotten progressively worse, they can let you know. They will also alert you of any triggers, if they are prone to anger or what helps them to remember who they are. This can help to put you in the right mindset as the visit approaches.
Know their visiting policies. Be sure to ask the staff when the visiting hours are and if there are any restrictions on visitation. For example, if someone is sick and wants to visit, are they allowed? Will they need to wear a mask? Be sure to ask if children are allowed to visit and verify what ages are acceptable. Are there limits to how many people can be in the room at once? It’s important to know these rules and plan for it well ahead of a visit.
Understand your loved one may not know who you are. Because of your loved one’s memory loss, it’s possible that they may not know who you are at first. Be calm and reassuring. Introduce yourself, but never ask if they remember you, as this can cause them to become upset. Don’t take this personally, as they have no control over what they do and do not remember.
Bring a small gift that could spark their memory. If possible, try to bring a gift that will make them remember who you are, or at least could potentially cause them to remember a fond memory. This can help you to bond, connect and bring them some joy during your visit. Make sure the gift is from a few years ago, as the further back you go, the more likely they are to remember the moment since memory loss impacts the most recent memories first.
Expect that they may want to come home with you. Your loved one might not realize that they do not live with you, so when you leave, they may try to come home with you or at least ask if they can. Reassure them that you’ll see them again soon and that you enjoyed their company.
Keeping an open mind and knowing what to expect when visiting a memory care community can help to make the experience easier and more enjoyable for everyone.To see just how much memory care has changed and to learn more about how we can enhance the life of your loved one with memory loss, call or visit us today.
Experience Life. Uplifted! at Travanse Living™ at Wheaton
Travanse Living™ at Wheaton offers Assisted Living and Enlight Memory Care services to individuals in the area. Travanse Living™ communities offer the best of both worlds – the dignity, comfort and peace of private apartment suites as well as spacious and abundant social areas – both inside and outside. Our beautiful communities, rich in care, services and amenities, are complemented by our life-enriching and diverse programming.
Travanse Living is more than a warm, welcoming and supportive place to call home. It is an engaging, worry-free lifestyle for individuals needing senior living services or memory care. After all, while you may need a bit of support to remain living independently, your desire to live a full, active and meaningful lifestyle hasn’t changed one bit.
To ensure quality in every aspect of the community, we turned to Pathway to Living™ to operate and manage Travanse Living. Award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living™ keeps residents active and engaged within our community. We encourage our residents to remain active – physically, intellectually and spiritually – living a life filled with purpose, meaning and fulfillment.