Nursing Home Visits Are Likely Awkward For You & Your Loved One…. But It’s Ok

After visiting several family members in nursing homes over the past few years, I frequently find myself a bit anxious; before, during and after our visit.  Part of me feels guilty that I’m talking about my busy life in the outside world while my family member likely spends their days bored and depressed.  Yet, another part of me finds myself asking “is that what I have to look forward to?”

Nursing Home VisitsThough probably not discussed as much as it should be, nursing home visits are an important part of the lives of both patient and their friends and family.  I recently saw a very good article about the importance of nursing home visits– and just how many of the feelings we experience as visitors are indeed normal. 

Martha Bauman’s article in the Sentinel Source, “Visiting nursing homes doesn’t have to be draining” made me feel a lot better about my mixed feelings and provides some terrific tips for anyone planning a visit to a friend or family member in a nursing home.  Amongst Ms. Bauman’s suggestions for beneficial nursing home visits:

  • Talk about happenings with the family
  • Learn about the activities and facilities that the nursing home provides
  • Participate in activities at the nursing home
  • Get to know the staff and ask about your loved ones care and condition
  • Bring photos and basic games to help involve and stimulate your loved one
  • When visiting from out of town, try to break up visits over a couple of days

Certainly, these are some suggestions that anyone can benefit from.  However, I think one of the broader themes of Ms. Bauman’s article which particularly resonated with me is to modify our expectations of the entire experience.  As a spouse, son or friend, it is important to be realistic about your familiy members current condition– they likely are not as active, talkative or energetic as the person we once may have known. 

Understanding that the liklihood that these changes will come about is crucial to our visiting expectations and will likely increase the value of the visits for both visitor and family memer and perhaps—  do away with some of the feelings of shame and guilt on both ends.

Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog Entries:

Nursing Home Visits. An Opportunity To Conduct Your Own Inspection.

Tips For Rewarding Nursing Home Visits

Holiday Nursing Home Visits Can Prove To Be A Major Spirit Booster For Patients

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
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After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric