The transition from home to a memory care community can be challenging – not only for the new resident but also for family and friends. Although some individuals adjust very quickly, getting truly comfortable takes time – perhaps weeks or even months. During the first few days or weeks following a move to memory care, our staff encourages family and friends to visit as much as they are able. The presence of loved ones can help reassure the resident that they have not been forgotten and will help them accept their new home. However, some friends and family aren’t sure how to react (“what do I do…what do I say…what do I talk about?”). Here are seven suggested activities for visiting with your loved one:

Read and write letters. To further assist individuals adjusting to their new home, ask friends or family members to send letters, cards and other correspondence. You can also help your loved one send letters and cards – to grandchildren, friends and others.

Keep up with current events. Read the local newspaper, a magazine article or talk about current events. Keep the topics lighthearted and positive.

Join resident activities. Whether it’s enjoying a sing-a-long, watching a movie, or going on an outing, join your loved one in experiencing life at the community. We guarantee you’ll smile.

Reminisce about “the good old days.” Everyone loves stories. Talking about past holidays, fun times growing up, or past experiences can be fun, and can trigger good memories. Just avoid putting someone with memory loss “on the spot.” Avoid asking, “Do you remember?” Just tell the story. They may even surprise you and join in!

Embrace the silence. Don’t feel like you need to talk the entire time. You may even consider bringing things to work on while you visit, such as knitting, or a book to read. You may even know some of their favorite activities and bring something you can enjoy together – such as a puzzle, crochet project or their favorite movie.

Bring in their favorite treat or meal. Does Aunt Penny love pretzels? Is Grandpa crazy for chocolate chip cookies? Bringing their favorite treat will surely bring a smile to their face…and yours!

Help decorate their room. Bring their favorite items from home and add to the familiarity of the space. If it’s close to a holiday, bring decorations to mark the occasion.

All are opportunities to create a moment of joy for your friend or loved one and make their day more special. Remember: Agemark staff are here to help. If you need suggestions, want advice, or simply need support, please ask. We’re here for you!