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How to visit someone living with dementia

The significance of going

People with dementia, like everyone else, appreciate visits from family and friends. Visits may provide support and comfort, as well as a chance to keep connected with people.

Uncertainty about what to anticipate may make some individuals afraid to visit a dementia patient. Consider the following suggestions to make visits simpler and more pleasant for everyone.

Prior to the visit

Set a time that is convenient for you and determine how long you should remain.

Discover the ideal time to visit. It might be throughout the day when the person you’re visiting isn’t fatigued. Check that the duration of your visit is reasonable. Because each person with dementia is unique, consult with the caregiver or others who visit to determine what is best. Ruhilcare provides group home for disability peoplesĀ 

Inquire around

You may have friends or family members. Who want to attend but are unclear what to do or are afraid. Particularly if it is their first visit after the person was diagnosed or transferred to a long-term care facility. This is a wonderful time to invite them, since going jointly might help dispel such concerns. For individuals who would want to visit but are unable to do so, ask whether it is OK to phone or video contact them during the visit and set a time ahead of time.

Find out whether bringing a pet is permitted

Pets may provide comfort and delight to those suffering from dementia. If you are visiting a long-term care facility, it is advisable to verify their policies about animals entering the facility beforehand.

Prepare anything you intend to bring.

Photographs, films, and letters may help you connect with the person you’re visiting. If they have a favourite treat, try to bring it with you. You may also want to explore purchasing assistive gadgets to help them participate in meaningful activities.

Look for unique events to attend as a group

When visiting a long-term care facility, inquire about any special events, such as a Christmas party. If you’re worried that leaving would upset the person you’re visiting, attempt to time your departure with an event. Having the end of your visit coincide with going to a dinner or an activity may provide a natural conclusion to the visit while also distracting the client. Sign the visitor guest book (see below) as you depart so the person you’re visiting may check it later and other visitors know you’ve stopped by.

Throughout the visit

Clear communication is essential

As the dementia worsens, the individual you’re visiting may no longer recognise you. Depending on the stage of the condition, you may be required to identify yourself and explain why you’ve come, for example, “It’s Jane, an old acquaintance. Today I came to see you.” Respectful and compassionate communication is essential for a memorable visit.

Be ready to listen

People suffering from the condition may want to express their emotions. Maintain an open and empathetic attitude. You may need to respond to challenging inquiries in order to recognise their emotions and reassure them that they are secure, loved, and cared for. Common inquiries include when they will be able to return home and when someone who died a long time ago would come to visit.

Make the atmosphere more appealing

Turning off the TV, closing a door, or closing a window might help make the visit more serene, focused, and less confused.

Ask the individual what they wish to do.

You may boost the independence and self-esteem of the person you’re visiting by empowering them to make choices about how you spend your time together that day. Limiting your options is typically a good thing. “Would you like to go for a walk or sit here and talk?” If that seems like too many options, try “yes/no” questions like “Would you like to go for a walk?”

Establish a connection by engaging in the appropriate activity

Pay attention to the person’s skills and abilities. Depending on the individual’s preferences, it might be a pleasant visit viewing a movie with some snacks, listening to music, or walking outdoors to enjoy the advantages of fresh air and exercise. Another nice method to connect is to make a scrapbook together or play a familiar game.

Make a connection by using a common item or person

If the person you’re visiting isn’t interested in a certain activity, this might be a nice time to bring out those objects you brought along to enjoy together, or have that friend or family member who couldn’t make it phone in.

Allow for some quiet time if necessary

Quiet time during a visit may be incredibly significant and beneficial for everyone. Keep in mind that not all communication is verbal.

Remember and laugh with me.

Recall any amusing incidents you both had, such as “I recall when we both…” Enjoy each and every minute.

Other suggestions for visits

Bringing your children

Bringing a youngster to visit may be enjoyable for everyone and helps in the maintenance of key ties. Use the following suggestions to secure their involvement:

Discuss dementia with the kid and what to anticipate. Pay attention to the child’s emotions and worries.

Explain to the youngster that throughout the visit, they should speak properly, avoid fighting, and ask for assistance if necessary.

Bring a peaceful activity for the youngster and the person you’re visiting, such as a jigsaw puzzle.

Allow the youngster to present something they produced to the person you’re visiting, such as a drawing or some handmade cookies.

Making a guest book for visitors

It might be difficult for a person suffering from dementia to recall all of their daily activities. You may assist the person you’re visiting to remember who has been to visit and how they spent their time together by establishing a visitor guest book. Guest cards may also serve as fantastic conversation starters for other visits as well as help the person with dementia recall everything that transpired that day.

A guest book may be a simple notepad or diary maintained in a prominent area in the house where guests can quickly find it (such as by the front door). Though it is preferable if the guest book is created such that the person with dementia may fully appreciate it, the following information should always be included:

  • The visit date
  • The name of the guest
  • How did you spend your time together that day? When will you return? (try to be as specific as possible)
  • If the person you’re visiting is in a long-term care facility, ask if you may leave a visitor guest book in the individual’s room beforehand.

In the next part, you can find some samples of guest book remarks.

The visitor guest book: A useful tool for staying informed

A person with dementia may have numerous persons in her circle of support, including a frequent neighbour, family members, and friends. As the condition advances and the individual gets additional care, the circle may expand to include service professionals (such as social workers, occupational therapists, nurses, and so on) and volunteers. It might be tough to recall everyone who comes and goes, as well as to be aware of who is involved and how they contribute to the person’s day.

A visitor guest book serves as a record of who has visited the home and how they spent their time with the person with dementia. It may serve as a discussion starter for other guests as well as assist the person with dementia recall everything that transpired throughout the day.

We recommend persons with dementia or their carers to buy a cheap notebook or journal and keep it in a prominent, visible position in the house where visitors may quickly find it (such as by the front door). Select a design that appeals to you and feel free to be creative. Use the guest book in your own unique manner; add images, requests stated by the person with dementia, describe your visit and chats, or make a drawing to communicate your sentiments.

Though it is preferable if the guest book is created such that the person with dementia may fully appreciate it, the following information should always be included:

The visit date

Name of the visitor

What you did with your time together

When you will return (try to be as exact as possible) Whether the person with dementia resides in a long-term care facility, check first to see if a visitor guest book may be left in the person’s room.

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