Your Memory Care Guide to Making Visits Meaningful with Someone with Alzheimer’s

Your Memory Care Guide to Making Visits Meaningful with Someone with Alzheimer’s

“When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of memory impairment, family members and friends often don’t know what to do,” says Margie Hennessey, Admissions Director of the newly renovated Saunders House, located in Wynnewood, PA.

“Oftentimes, their lack of knowledge about Alzheimer’s creates unwarranted anxiety and reluctance about seeing the person with the disease. Sadly, this fear of the unknown frequently acts as an obstacle to having pleasant, highly productive visits with the loved one,” adds Margie. “This is particularly unfortunate because memory care experts say these types of interactions are actually very beneficial and help to enhance the individual’s overall wellbeing.”

The Therapeutic Value of Memory Care Visits

Specifically, memory care specialists at the Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Association confirm that visits from friends and family can be very helpful to those with memory loss. They say several types of positive social engagement and holistic therapy are considered very useful in improving the person’s emotional state, sense of belonging and self-esteem.

An additional benefit is that while you visit a loved one, the person’s primary caregiver can enjoy a welcome and much-needed respite from caregiving – even if it is just a short visit. In fact, memory care specialists say a visit might be the very best gift you can give to both the individual with the disease and their caregiver.

Valuable Memory Care Tips for Making Your Visit Pleasant and Helpful

The Alzheimer’s Association’s Caregiver” article, Positive Attitude: The Key to Successful Visiting and Holiday Gift Giving,” offers helpful recommendations that can make visits both beneficial and satisfying. These expert memory care tips can also help hesitant family members and friends to feel more comfortable and confident about visiting someone with memory loss.

  •  Introduce yourself and call the person by name before every verbal interaction with them, e.g. “Emily, it is so nice to see you!”
  • Do not ask the person receiving memory care if they remember you. By saying this, you are constantly reminding the person of their deficits, say memory care therapists.
  • Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation to show you are listening.
  • Make sure you approach the individual from the front and at their level.
  • Show your love and caring. You can use touch to let them know you care.
  • Reduce the stimulation around you. For example, turn off the TV, radio and cell phone.
  • Talk to the person as an adult. Speak in brief, easy to understand sentences, say memory care therapists. Don’t “talk down” or use “baby talk” with them.
  • Mention their former interests and hobbies. Memory care therapists say this can be used as a trigger for a positive response. For example, take a golf magazine for the former golfer or a gardening magazine for the woman who loved her garden.
  • Bring items from the past with you. Photo albums are great for reminiscing. While recent memories may have faded for the individual, past memories are often vivid and clear. Photos from the past can spark conversation, elicit fond memories and make for a wonderful visit. 
  • Don’t ask numerous questions. It is better to make simple statements. For example, instead of saying, “Are you enjoying the beautiful summer weather?” Say, “It has been so beautiful this summer.” 
  • Keep your visit short. If you visit for short intervals, you are more likely to have a successful interaction say memory care therapists.
  • Never say “goodbye” at the end of a visit. It is better not to draw attention to the fact that you are leaving. Try saying “I love you.”

Margie adds, “In our Care Traditions memory care neighborhood, we are happy to welcome visits by friends and family members day or night. We also encourage them to continue to be an important part of their loved ones’ lives.:

Care Traditions takes a holistic approach to memory care, incorporating programming for the mind, body and spirit. Everything we do in Care Traditions promotes positive interactions that engage, inspire and promote wellbeing.

“To foster a sense of belonging, memory care residents living within Care Traditions are invited to join in community-wide activities whenever possible,” says Margie. “Our goal for every resident is to improve their quality of life and to make all of their days purposeful and meaningful.”

Your Family Resource for Memory Care Information and Support

In addition to providing specialized senior care and memory care in a warm, welcoming and nurturing setting, Saunders House also serves as an important educational resource for area families and at-home caregivers.

We invite you to view our monthly articles and tips on relevant senior care and memory care topics of interest. We hope they will make your life as a memory care caregiver easier and improve the quality of care your loved one receives. Visit us often for the latest in senior care and memory care news and information.

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness 

Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center, Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. Voted Best of the Main Line 2016, It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue. 

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, restorative care, memory care, respite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Saunders House, our Short-Term Rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at (610) 658-5100 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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