If you have a loved one who has recently moved into a nursing home or convalescence home, it is important to visit that person. He or she will enjoy the company -- it will help them feel more at ease when they're settling in. These three tips will ensure both you and your loved one enjoy your time together.
Check before bringing in food.
While nursing homes don't typically prohibit family members from bringing food to their loved ones, it is best to check with the staff before you do so. The person you are visiting might be on a special diet, and you don't want to risk bringing anything that could throw off their medications or cause health problems. If you get the go-ahead from staff, then consider bringing one of your loved one's favorite snacks along with you. The family's famous cookies, the brownies that certain aunt always makes on Thanksgiving, or the snack mix you always used to share on movie night -- any item along those lines will bring your loved one some joy and set the stage for rekindling old memories.
Take the time to talk with and be kind to other residents you encounter.
On the way to your loved one's room, you're likely going to encounter other residents. Some of them will want to strike up a conversation with you. Be kind to them, and engage them in conversation for a few minutes. Understand that you are essentially in these people's home. It's natural for them to be curious about you. Answer their questions, and share a little bit about yourself before kindly stating that you're there to visit your relative and have to be moving on.
Later on, if your loved one wants to introduce you to others in the nursing home, it is best to be obliging. These are his or her new friends, and your loved one will be excited for them to meet you. To your loved one, this is an important step in merging their "old" and "new" lives and the people in them.
Bring along a small gift.
Even if you visit often, your loved one is bound to have times when they feel lonely and start missing family members and friends. If you bring along a little gift when you visit, they will have something more to remind them of you -- and it will make your visit even sweeter. Some nice gifts to bring for a loved one in a nursing home include:
- The latest issue of a magazine related to their interests
- A pair of comfortable socks or slippers
- A framed picture of the two of you (and maybe some other family members) together
- Some special toiletry items, like cologne for men or scented lotion for women
To learn more, contact a convalescent home like Hilltop House.