10 Tips for Having a Good Visit with your Family Member in a Nursing Home

  1. The visit is not about you, so don’t be discouraged by nervousness or sorrow,. Focus on trying to brighten up your family member’s day. You might find it hard to see your loved one in this condition, but being upset will not help them. Visiting them, however, will.
  2. Focus on who they are inside, not on their physical impairments or situation. It helps to look into their eyes; they truly are the gateways to the soul.
  3. Choose a time when your family member is likely to have a good amount of energy, like in the morning or after their midday meal. Eating the midday meal together is even better.
  4. Start with a friendly greeting: make eye contact, give them a hug, and sit on their level before initiating the conversation.
  5. When speaking, raise your voice slightly, but don’t shout. Turn off the radio or any other background noise. Keep your face level and visible so your family member can lip-read; it helps them to better understand what you’re saying. Don’t fidget with keys or your phone; in fact turn off technology to avoid distractions.
  6. Bring some things to spice up the conversation: for example, music, videos, photos, collectibles, recipes, manicure materials, or food. If the nursing home allows it, you could also bring pets or small children; they’ll bring energy to them room and might be a pleasant distraction from daily monotony for your family member.
  7. Bring your family member something to keep in their room, so they can look at it and know that you’re thinking about them. This could be a painting, a little knick-knack, or a photo of the two of you together.
  8. Keep visits close and personal; don’t make it a huge event. It is better to go often rather than making one visit very exciting.
  9. Keep in mind that longer is not always better. The length of a visit depends on the amount of energy your family member has and how long you can keep them interested.
  10. The most important thing to remember is to keep your visiting promises. Many residents really look forward to seeing their family members; try your best not to let them down.