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January 27, 2023

Vitalia Active Adult Community – North Olmsted Discusses How to Have Meaningful Visits With Someone Living With Dementia

Category: Dementia Resources

Author: Ashleigh Koenig, Memory Care Director

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 Vitalia Active Adult Community – North Olmsted we have some ideas and suggestions to help you have successful visits with your loved ones.

When engaging with someone affected by dementia, it is important to remember the energy you put out will 100% influence the visit. It is always good to start your visit with a smile and introduce yourself, to help take pressure from your loved one. Also, stay away from trying to “quiz” your loved one. Keep the visit positive!

Some things you, as a family member, can do to make the visit pleasant are bring pictures or items that could spark reminiscing. If your loved one enjoys reading, bring in books to read with them or have them read to you. If they love animals, bring in your furry companion. If your loved one is having trouble with word finding or with their recall, don’t shame them. Instead, try to help them. Use visual cues, talk to them in a calm voice, and try to help them reconnect the dots. By uplifting them and supporting them in their struggles, you will have a more successful visit with your loved one.

Certain times of the day are better than others to visit someone with dementia. Ask the memory care team about the best time for your loved one. In the evening we usually see more “sundowning,” making the daytime generally a better time to drop in. Of course, every day is different, never set expectations. Just know your loved one is doing their best and they are happy you are there.

When it is time to end your visit, short goodbyes are always the best approach. Keeping it quick with an “I love you!” or “Gotta go pick up the kids!” can easily do the trick. If your loved one is someone who struggles with goodbyes to any capacity, there is no shame in helping them get involved with an engagement before heading out or simply stating you need to use the restroom and then making your exit. The longer you make the goodbye the more anxious or upset the individual may become.

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. 

VITALIA® North Olmsted in North Olmsted, OH 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 St. John West Shore with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Crusher’s Stadium, Crocker Park, North Olmsted Senior Center, North Olmsted Library, Bradley Woods Park (Cleveland Metro Parks), and Cleveland Zoo.

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