Visiting a loved one in a Residential Assisted Living facility can be a difficult task. At times it can feel like a chore. I remember going with my parents to visit my great-grandmother in a nursing home in the 80’s and then experienced visiting my grandparents in an Assisted Living facility when I was an adult. It was always a difficult time because I never knew what to do. I now realized that I was thinking about what I could get out of it and not what it would do for my grandparents.
Your loved ones may feel stuck in the senior home they are in and may not have the ability to get out and visit others. Scheduled activities may not be the types of things that your parent or grandparent wants to do or they have become repetitive. As a person ages and nears the end of their life, they value time spent with loved ones over many other activities.
1. Ask them questions about their life and pictures:
The greatest generation who now populate assisted living facilities in Indianapolis and around the country grew up with very different experiences. The activities we enjoy now were not available when they were growing up and raising their own children. Reminiscing about how things were can bring back fond memories and many times they will have stories you have never heard before. You may consider recording or writing them down in order to preserve those stories for future generations.
2. Bring an activity they used to enjoy:
Sometimes conversations can be difficult especially for those who are hard of hearing. Since they didn’t have the electronics that are available now there are activities that they enjoyed that we have forgotten about. I know that my grandmother really enjoyed puzzles and my grandfather spent a lot of time playing card games. Find out what activities they previously enjoyed and bring them with you to the senior living home for a great way of spending time together.
3. Go for a walk
If possible is always nice to get out of the room or home that your parent has been stuck in. Many times they aren’t able to get out themselves and there isn’t someone who has time to assist them in getting that much needed fresh air. Just being there and helping them get a small bit of exercise and being able to spend that time with them is something that they will cherish. If you can schedule these events regularly, you will give them something to look forward to.
4. Bring the Grand Children
Assisted Living homes have a lot of OLD in them. There are rarely any signs of young life and energy in these places. While it isn’t a great place for children to run around, having some youthful energy can help liven up a place. They may even ask questions that you haven’t thought of or are too self-conscious to ask that will lead a grandparent to open up in ways you haven’t seen or don’t expect. Coordinating this activity with #2 and allowing the children to engage in activities that the older generation enjoyed allows them to gain an appreciation for them and lets the grandparent pass down something they love to their grandchildren.
5. Enjoy a meal with them
At Willow Haven Senior Homes we encourage families to enjoy a meal with their loved ones. Meal time has traditionally been a time that families have gathered around a common table and shared time and experiences with each other. Why should that stop just because an adult needs assistance with their activities of daily living? Many times it is their physical bodies that need the assistance but their mind is as sharp as it has always been.
There are many other activities that can be shared with a senior in an assisted living facility. Willow Haven Senior Homes believes that regular interaction and time spent with loved ones is very important in an elder’s life. While caregivers are there to support them with their daily living activities, they can’t replace the love and affection of the family that they have built over their 70-80+ years.
Are there any activities that you enjoy doing when you visit an older love one?