5 Tips for a Happy & Successful Nursing Home Visit

For many people, visiting relatives in a nursing home is uncomfortable. After all, residents in nursing homes are there for a reason: they need help caring for themselves. Sometimes the care needed isn't very obvious, but for others it can be extremely noticeable. The patient in the home may need help dressing and undressing, they may need to take a slew of medications, or they may need help going to the bathroom.

Whatever the reason, it can be very uncomfortable to visit a loved one in a nursing home. Fortunately, with a little preparation you can make your visit pleasant—and sometimes even fun. Here are five tips for visiting a loved one in a nursing care facility:

1. Plan Ahead

Make sure you plan and communicate about your visit with your family member in the nursing home. If you cannot speak to the family member directly, speak with their nurse. Inform them of the date, time, and how many people will be you. You might also want to mention if you'll be bringing children along.

By doing this, your loved one will know exactly when you are coming to see them. It will also help them be prepared, because they will know to be ready for guests. This tip may be simple, but it's often overlooked.

2. Be Friendly and Affectionate

The human touch is incredibly important in life. Without it, people often get depressed. Your loved one may not experience much human touch in their day-to-day life, especially if they are new to the facility.

When you are visiting, be sure to offer up hugs—and kisses if you're comfortable with that. You may also want to offer other nice things, such as brushing their hair or giving them a nice foot rub.

3. Use Props for Communicating

If you don't know what to talk about, bring some props along. Photo albums, music, movies, and even games are all a good way to spark communication. It also keeps your family member in the loop on new changes, such as a new marriage or baby.

4. Don't Bring too Many People

It can make your loved one very anxious if you bring a large group of people for a visit. After all, they probably don't know some of these people. But even if they do, having so many people in their room can be scary.

Instead, visit in small groups throughout the day. You can also assign days, holidays, or weekends and rotate them around. This allows everyone to see the loved one, without causing any anxiety.

5. Get Outside

Those in nursing homes don't get out often. Staying isolated to their room or common areas can be very depressing.

When you visit, consider taking your loved one outside. If healthy enough, take your loved to do their monthly errands: getting their hair done, shopping, etc. If your loved one isn't healthy enough, ask permission to take them outside. Nursing homes typically have beautiful outdoor areas.

For more tips and suggestions, talk to nursing homes such as Beth Sholom Home Of Virginia.

It might be scary to visit your loved one in a nursing home, but it doesn't have to be. Use these tips to create a healthy, fun, and relaxing environment for everyone involved.