How to Ensure a Positive Visit to Your Loved One?


How Can I Ensure a Positive Visit to a Loved One in a Nursing Home?

Visiting your loved one in a nursing home is fundamental to sustaining their general health. Studies show that the more connected the elderly are with others, the better they will fare on tests of memory and cognition.1 Committing to spending time with your loved one, whether it be through walks outside, playing cards, reading together, listening to music, or looking through old photo albums, any visit is bound to improve a nursing home resident’s outlook on life.

Nursing home staff members are responsible for monitoring the way visiting family members and spouses treat residents. In most instances, it is in the best interest of the resident to interact with loved ones on a daily basis.
On June 18, 2013, the Bureau of Justice for the National Center on Elder Abuse conducted research that found there were 5,961,568 elder abuse cases in the United States in 2010.2 Of these cases, it found 66% of the abuse cases had been perpetrated by adult children or spouses.2
Once admitted to a facility, nursing home residents become heavily dependent on those around them. This makes visits incredibly important. Visits from family make the resident feel respected and valued; they can improve morale, relieve depression and pain, overcome loss, enhance healing, and promote a sense of self-respect.3 Inappropriate behavior from family and spouses may be inadvertent; the change in lifestyle is difficult for both sides.

To ensure your visit to see your loved one goes well, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Choose a time that does not interfere with your loved one’s sleep and/or treatment schedule
  • Always follow through with your visit once it is planned. Do not promise to visit and then cancel or not show up.
  • Join your loved one for a mealtime. Sharing a meal together will help dissipate any preexisting tension or discomfort on either side.
  • Choose a quiet environment to talk so that you can both hear each other and have some privacy. This will give more freedom to your conversation.

Visiting your loved one will likely always leave them feeling appreciated and upbeat. It is important that you communicate with nursing home staff or your local ombudsman if you have any concerns about the condition of your loved one after a visit. If you notice any significant changes in their personality, they may be experiencing abuse or neglect. This concern should be reported immediately.