Visits are important to residents of nursing facilities and can make a difference in their lives. Visits provide emotional, social, and spiritual support. They help the resident maintain contact with the community at large.
There are no specific restrictions to the visiting hours. We encourage family and friends to visit regularly but please be mindful of the time of day and any disruption to other residents. Please advise the nursing unit of any unusual visiting hours. The doors of the nursing units are usually locked by 8 pm and unlocked at 6 am for security purposes. You may have to ring the buzzer in order to be let in. . Some residents have activities that are important to them, so would prefer no interruptions at that time. They may have therapy or outings scheduled at a certain time. Check with the nursing staff about what food you can bring the resident.
What to talk about:
- Anything that interests the resident
- Ask what is going on in their lives.
- Share things you are doing
- Talk about the “good old days” but balance it with the new. Sometimes their long term memory is better than what happened yesterday.
Be a good listener. Don’t interrupt or finish sentences for the residence. Please be patient for a response, sometimes it may take a little longer for them to answer. If you are not sure you understand them, summarize what they said to make sure you did understand their message. If hearing is a problem for the resident, speak clearly – you don’t need to yell. If speech is a problem, ask yes/no questions, use gestures. If the resident is blind – offer to read to them.
Things you can do when you visit:
- Read a newspaper or magazine
- Help write letters
- Work on a project such as a puzzle
- Bring children – their youth and vitality are a plus
- Watch TV together
- Listen to their stories and record them
Some residents, with their physicians’ permission, can be taken out of the facility for an outing – maybe to a religious service, to a restaurant, a movie, shopping, or maybe just a drive around the community. Ask in advance about this so arrangements can be made.
For some people who enter a nursing home, they can be facing challenges – being separated from family or home, losing the ability to care for themselves – and your visit can help by providing a link to the community, being a good listener, and just being there for them. Enjoy your time visiting, and both you and the resident will benefit from your visits.