Tips for Visiting – For Family and Friends

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Visits from family and friends are an important part of residents’ lives. 

We recognize that visiting with your family member, particularly if they have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia may be challenging at times. Below is a list of visiting tips you may wish to consider:

  • When visiting you may wish to touch base with the staff to find out how your relative has been doing. This information may help you match the length of your visit, your expectations and any planned activities.
  • Pick the right environment for you, whether it’s the privacy of their bedroom, an activity program or the hustle of the front entry way, pick a place conducive to your visit.
  • Take a walk inside or out in the Courtyard space. You may need to visit on the run if your relative likes to keep moving – this is ok. Restlessness commonly is a natural manifestation of dementia. Even though you may not be actively communicating with your relative they can often relate to your comforting presence.

Things to do:

  • Conversations on broad topics such as travel, farming, sports, entertainment, animals, special events, cultural elements.
  • Discuss family, friends, seasonal changes, special interests, etc.
  • Take a walk
  • Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, have a snack
  • Look at photos
  • Bring things in related to the upcoming season, celebrations etc.
  • Listen to music
  • Read a book, magazine or paper
  • Visit the Village Shop
  • Play a game
  • Do their hair, make-up, massage their hands

We acknowledge visiting may be difficult when the resident has communication or memory challenges. We recommend you try to validate their thoughts and feelings; this may help them to feel good about contributing to a meaningful conversation.  If conversation is not possible, you could tend to your relatives comfort needs throughout the visit (comb their hair, massage their hands with lotion etc).  Please do not hesitate speak with staff for their support or ideas for visits.

  • Use touch and eye contact.  Reflect emotion and verbally link their behaviour to needs. Some times we don’t need to say anything. Try to get comfortable with silence, just being with them is important!
  • After your visit, tell the staff you are leaving and if possible when you plan to come next. This will allow staff to remind and reassure your family member when you will return.


Revised: Thursday March 28 2019

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