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January 27, 2023

Vitalia Senior Residences at Westlake Discusses How to Have Meaningful Visits With Someone Living With Dementia

Category: Dementia Resources

Author: Grace Striker, Memory Care Director

Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and other thinking abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. When someone is diagnosed with dementia, at least two parts of the brain are dying. Dementia is progressive, chronic, and terminal, which creates many challenges.  Relationships continue to be vital to families, regardless of a dementia diagnosis. At Vitalia Senior Residences at Westlake we have some ideas and suggestions to help you have successful visits with your loved ones.

I understand how it can be difficult for families and friends to visit during transitions, but they are still incredibly important! You, as visitors, can help set the tone of your time together. Come in with a positive attitude, welcoming body language, soothing tone, and speak clearly about positive things. This is not the time to quiz your loved one on what they remember, rather it is a time to enjoy quality time together and focus on being present and patient.

Don’t come into the visit with expectations. Arrive and introduce yourself, compliment them, check in, and share news or anything to connect with them. Bring pictures, read familiar books, listen to songs, and watch movies or other activities that may increase their comfort.

The best time for visits depends mostly on the individual person. Checking with your Memory Care Director, if you’re unsure, is a great start. Mornings or early afternoons are normally better times to visit someone with dementia, to avoid sundowning behaviors in the evenings. Early in the day may also have more events and programs you can join.

Saying “goodbye” or “see you later” may be triggering for residents. They may then ask “when?” Keep it simple when you leave, with either when you will return or simply “I have to get back to work” or “I have an appointment.” If you’re unable to leave without it being an issue, be sure to ask a Care Partner to assist in distraction to make exiting easier. We are always here to help!

We hope this information has given you some fresh tips and ideas for visiting someone living with dementia. Quality connections are essential for the person living with the disease, as well as yourself. If your visit still doesn’t go well, don’t beat yourself up. Every day is a new day. Be patient and you will figure out what works best. Giving your time to someone living with dementia is the best gift possible. 

VITALIA® Westlake in Westlake, OH offers independent living +, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near UH St. John Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic Avon with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Meadowood Golf Course, Crocker Park, Clague Playhouse, Porter Library, Westlake Rec Center, Sibling Revelry Brewery, Bradley Woods Reservation, Huntington Reservation, and White Oaks Restaurant.

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