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January 27, 2023

The Castlewood Senior Living Discusses How to Have Meaningful Visits With Someone Living With Dementia

Category: Memory Care

Author: Elizabeth Thompson, Regional Director of Memory Care

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 The Castlewood Senior Living we have some ideas and suggestions to help you have successful visits with your loved ones.

The family member absolutely impacts how the visit will go! Our energy and state of mind is contagious. Prepare to join their reality, and never argue. We also must remember the time is about them, not us. Always introduce yourself, this sets them up for success. Wearing a smile and complementing them is a great way to start the visit. Don’t set expectations, just enjoy the moment.

Pick a time to stop by when your loved one is at their best. Usually, this is around the early hours of the day. Late afternoons and evenings tend to be harder for those living with dementia. Shorter visits are much easier on the person living with dementia. Tiredness and overstimulation can worsen sundowning.

Family members can make the visit pleasant by sharing your life, but don’t share your stress. Keep the conversation positive and simple. Less is more for those with dementia, especially when communicating. Don’t forget to use the power of touch. Since everyone needs to feel needed, try asking them to help you with something, but never ask them to remember. Dementia equals brain failure. In most cases, individuals can’t remember. Reminisce and remind them of joyful times from their past. Bring a photo album or something to snack on together.

When the time comes to end your visit, keep it short and sweet. Avoid using terms like, “I need to go home.”  Leave them with positive feelings. “I need to leave for an appointment, but I will be back.”  This statement provides comfort in knowing you will return. One of the bitter-sweet benefits of dementia is the fact that once you are gone, they won’t remember exactly what you said or possibly your visit.  It is about what happens in the moment, and we want every moment to be positive.

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. 

The Castlewood Senior Living in Nixa, MO 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 Cox Medical Center South and with convenient access to major shopping centers, including Fremont Hills Country Club, Fountain Plaza, Smallin Civil War Cave, 160 Grand Prix Amusement Center, and the 4 X 4 Brewery-Fremont.

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