The joy that accompanies the holidays is frequently absent from the halls of nursing homes. The celebrations and meals that make the holidays a joyous time of year for many of us may be impossible for people who may be immobile or ill.
Regardless on how long its been from your last visit, a brief visit with a friend or family member in nursing home can lift spirits especially during this time of year. Leave whatever guilt you may hold regarding the infrequency of visits or prior relationship problems look to the present.
I found some excellent suggestions for a positive nursing home visit at this website Agedcarer.com.
If a family member is immobile or unable to communicate simply holding their hand, stroking their forehead and talking quietly lets them know you care.
Talk about recent outings, bus trips or events at the nursing home.
Bring photos or a family movie of recent special events. Watch a DVD together and bring some snacks.
Share a meal with your family member in the dining room or order take away food. Call the nursing home ahead of time to organise a table.
Bring grandchildren to visit. Ask a grandchild to read from a favourite book or to brighten a room with current art projects.
Help a family member write a letter to a friend. Receiving a letter or card in return will lift their spirits.
Give your mum a manicure or hand massage.
Bring the family pet to visit, go for a walk in the garden or show off the pet to other residents.
If you play an instrument put on a concert for all the residents.
Take a family member out for the day. A simple car trip to the beach can be invigorating.
If you live far away organise a weekly phone call with staff at a certain time of day. 5 minutes on the phone can brighten your loved one’s day.
Receiving cards, letters and photos from family can be a conversation starter for weeks between residents and staff. Bring some large print books, magazines and cross-word puzzles.
Residents needs to know they are still an important part of the family. Give your family member lots of affection, support and reassurance. Discuss family matters and try to involve them in decision making.
At some point take time out to listen to any complaints. Allow your loved one to vent any frustrations and arrange a time to talk to staff about any concerns. Remember to let your loved one know of the outcome.
If you can try not to focus too much on current health problems. Keep in mind that your loved one may also get embarrassed by any offensive smells or distracting noises in the aged care home so try to ignore them where you can.
A short visit can break up the routine of the day for a family member in an aged care home and for many residents it is the highlight of their week.
However, arranging the time can be difficult for some carers and many people find visiting an aged care home too confronting. If this is the case simply sending a message over the phone or sending a card will let someone know you care.