Tips for Nursing Home Visits to make them more Meaningful

Oftentimes, as nursing home residents decline, they lose the ability to communicate. Sadly, this is a time when families stop visiting as often because they don’t know what to say or how to make the visits meaningful for the family, as well as their loved one. Sometimes, just being present can be satisfying.

Here are some tips for the families.

1. Prepare for the visit ahead of time. Bring items of interest with you. For example; if your loved one enjoys pets, you could bring your family pet to visit. If he loves music, bring music to play.

2. Talk with your loved one about events going on in the community or family.

3. Bring their favorite food for the visit,

4. Reminisce about past life experiences. Bring in old family photographs. They may enjoy just listening to your memories.

5. On their calendar, take a highlighter and mark the date of your next visit. This will remind them that you will be returning soon.

6. Personalize their room.

7. Bring a book of their favorite author and read to him during your visit.

8. Bring flowers.

9. Provide hand massages and back rubs.

10. Include children in the visit. Don’t be afraid to laugh and share humorous stories. Bring funny cartoons and funny stories to share. It’s ok to laugh.

11. Bring videos or CDs of the religious services from local synagogue or church ..

12. Share events happening in your family.

13. Read poetry.

14. Share a meal with them. You could do a makeup session or fix their hair. You can bring pretty nail polish and do a manicure.

15. Go for a stroll together.

16. If your loved one is able to take a drive in the car, go on short outings..

17. Bring games they enjoy such as cards or checkers

18. Bring a video of family events such as a wedding or graduations,

19. Bring books on tape.

20. Assist your love one with writing a letter to a friend or relative.

21. Exercise with them. There are several video tapes for elderly in wheelchairs. It could be simple arm lifts, walking or hand exercises.

22. Decorate their room for the seasons, with decorations and scents specific to the holiday or season.

23. Bring fresh fruits and vegetables.

24. Get to know the staff.

If you plan what you will be doing before your visit, you will have a successful and rewarding experience.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents in fifty facilities for seniors. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs. www.JewishPavilion.org

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues. www.OrlandoSeniorHelpDesk.org