Visiting A Loved One Who Is Struggling With Alzheimer's At A Nursing Home: 3 Things To Bring Along For A More Memorable Visit
Watching someone that you love slowly forget everything about themselves and others around them can be heartbreaking. Unfortunately, that's the case for millions of family members and friends of the over 5 million Americans that are living with Alzheimer's. If a loved one is living with Alzheimer's, you might not have the ability to provide them with the constant care and attention that they require. In most cases, your loved one will benefit from staying at a nursing home or a memory care facility. Still, you should make time to visit them whenever you can to help stir their minds and make them feel loved. This article will look at 3 things that you can bring with you on your visit for a more enjoyable and fruitful experience.
Old Photographs and Pictures or Sentimental Items to Stir Up Memories
Just because a loved one living with Alzheimer's might have a spotty memory, it doesn't necessarily mean that they have forgotten everything in the past. Simple and small items or tokens can easily trigger and stir up old memories. When visiting a loved one, try to bring old photographs or pictures. In general, the older, the better, as their ailment will likely cause them to forget things that happened more recently. Looking over photographs of when they were still a young adult may allow you to share some beautiful moments with them reminiscing on the past. In addition, it's nice to leave these photographs behind for them to look at.
If you can't find any old photographs or pictures, look for any sentimental items they might have kept with them constantly. For example, trophies, seashells, medals of honor, cooking utensils, and even models of cars and airplanes can be great items to bring with you to share with them.
Snacks They Used to Enjoy
More often than not, while the nursing home or facility offers decent food and meals, they might not always carry or stock up on your loved one's favorite foods and snacks, like a certain type of chips or pastries. If your loved one had a favorite recipe for pastries or a dish, you might even want to consider cooking it yourself and bringing it with you. There's nothing better than a homemade dish that they can recognize. For example, their favorite homemade cookies or even a pasta dish can be a comforting welcome to the seemingly foreign environment of the nursing home.
If you plan on bringing food along, you might want to check with their nurses to see whether the snack you plan on bringing is suitable for their diet. At times, the physician or a nurse might make some adjustments to their diet based on the condition of their health.
Simple Games and Activities to Help Stimulate the Mind
Simple activities will not only help stimulate your loved one's mind, but might also help them reconnect with their past. Think about the type of activities and hobbies that they used to have and enjoy, and see if you can find a simple game or activity that is similar to it. For example, if they loved reading, a simple and easy-to-read book may be a great pastime. If not, card games can also be quite entertaining. Even if you don't end up trying out these activities and games with them, they can still try the activities and games out at a later time when they might be feeling stressed or anxious.
Depending on the layout of the nursing home or facility, you might even be able to partake in some activities that are considered to be more physical in nature. For example, you might be able to book the shared kitchen in order to bake some cookies with your loved one during the visit.
Bringing something along with you can make the visit a lot more enjoyable. At the very least, you'll have something to talk about or to do with them. However, regardless of what you choose to bring, the most important thing you need to do is to bring a good attitude. Be tolerant and understanding of the fact that your loved one might have emotional outbursts or might not remember who you are.