5 Fun Activities to Do When Visiting a Loved One in an Assisted Living Facility
Regular visits are an important part of senior health. When your parent or loved one lives in an assisted living facility, they’re given quality care and attention, but none of that compares to the experience they have with their friends and family. Outside visits can help you to maintain a relationship even in the face of neurocognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Visiting a patient at an assisted living facility can feel awkward at first. You might not know how to talk to them, or they may even feel like a stranger to you without their memories intact. It’s okay to feel nervous or out of place. In order to feel more comfortable and avoid awkwardly sitting around for the duration of your visit, take a look at these fun activities you and your loved one can to together.
- Make a Photo Album
While some patients may not be able to recognize faces or recall specific details, scrapbooks have been proven to comfort Alzheimer’s patients. Photo albums are a part of something called reminiscence therapy, which strives to help elderly patients feel empowered and build a sense of confidence in them and find comfort in their surroundings.
- Bring the Kids
Grandchildren should come along for a visit to the assisted living facility. You can bring a simple game or puzzle that they can play with their grandparent to feel connected and have fun together.
Encourage young visitors to bring something for show-and-tell. They could bring a favorite toy, read a favorite story or even bring along a video of an event like a school play or soccer game to show their grandparent.
- Listen to Music Together
Music improves mood, reduce agitation and encourage memory recollection. Singing activates the left side of the brain while listening to music engages the right. With so much stimulation, patients who partake in music therapy experience greater brain processing and mental output.
Listening to old songs together will also help you feel closer to your loved one.
- Work on a Memory Quilt
An on-going craft will give both you and your loved one something to look forward to each visit. You can make a memory quilt with old photos to recollect and reconnect with the past while creating a new bond in the present.
Bringing old pictures can also help comfort your loved one. Many patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s don’t recall specific details about an image, but many break into smiles and feel extremely comforted by the reminder of past memories.
- Spend Some Time Outdoors
Seniors who spend more time outside experience lower levels of depression and anxiety as well as better health and greater energy. You may be able to walk alongside your loved one through a park or on the property, or perhaps, you’ll just wind up pushing their wheelchair while they get to enjoy the sun and fresh air.
Remember Why You Came
It can be difficult seeing a loved one in an assisted living facility, but your visits make a difference, but your visits make a difference in both their life and yours. When you’re planning activities, focus on what your loved one loved doing when they were living independently. Indulging old hobbies and past interests can not only comfort them but also help you feel connected.