Visiting a person in a long-term care setting can present its own unique challenges, but the effort is incredibly meaningful and rewarding.
During your friendly visits, your presence and care can make a world of difference to the person you're visiting. While it can sometimes be challenging, remember that your compassionate presence brings comfort and joy. In addition to assessing their condition and observing their surroundings, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your time together. Here are some ideas to enhance your visits and create meaningful connections:
- Bring a local paper, gardening magazine, sports page, etc and read a story that might be of interest. If your client likes to stay busy, bring an activity book or a simple craft. Books with large photos (maybe about travel or history) are also good for perusing.
- Visit during a meal and brown bag it. This will give you the chance to see how your client manages. Do they need assistance? If you bring something to share, make sure it has been approved by nursing staff ahead of time.
- Get some fresh air! Go for a walk on the facility grounds if the weather permits. Take your client to visit a friend in the facility or attend an activity together. Always move around based on nursing staff recommendations. Safety is important!
- Assist them in phoning a family member or writing a note. Reminisce about past family events. Talk about children in the family. Talk about animals and pets if there is interest.
- Connect through music, especially if your client is non-verbal. It is simple to access music from all different eras on a smartphone. Before your visit, find out what the “hits” were when our client was a young adult. Play these songs for your client and see how they react. Hymns are also a good option for connecting through music.
- Help them set up the television and remote in their room by discussing what programs and channels they prefer and creating a user friendly guide for them. If you know which channels they like to watch, create a large, visible sign indicating their preferred stations with channel number and post it on the wall by the TV.
- Review the schedule of events at the facility and make note of those your client is interested in. Create events in your calendar to either drop in or call to remind the staff that your client wants to participate.
- If you have a client that attends a day program, visit them during their time at the program. Contact the care team member at the program to make arrangements for your first visit but know that you do not necessarily need an appointment to visit after that.
Remember, you are there to conduct a friendly visit but also check to ensure your client is receiving adequate care. Let staff know who you are and the purpose of the visit, becoming a part of the care team is a great way to support you ward.