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Tips for Meaningful Visits to People with Memory Loss

Make the most of your time with people who have memory loss.

If you are a caregiver for someone who is suffering memory loss, it may fall on you to schedule visits with other family members. For those who are not used to the changing behaviors conditions such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s can bring, a visit can feel intimidating and unfamiliar. Here are some caregiving tips to help make each visit more positive and meaningful:

  • Visit the person in a setting they are used to – in their own room or their home. Unfamiliar settings may trigger increased anxiety and confusion.
  • Do not overwhelm them by bringing them to crowded, noisy gatherings. Visit them in a comfortable spot and invite family members and friends to come in and visit one or two at a time.
  • If a birthday or holiday is the reason for your visit, choose gifts that elicit long-term or sensory memories. Suggestions: an old family photo, a treat that they used to make themselves, a familiar perfume, potpourri, a soft scarf or sweater, or a CD of music that you know they love.
  • Do not give gifts that require new learning, may break easily, or are irreplaceable. Remove all tags and packaging before giving.
  • Be aware that their limit-setting capabilities may be impaired, so give small quantities of treats – not an entire cake or a whole box of candy.
  • During your visit, guide the conversation to pleasant memories or family traditions.
  • If possible, engage them in an activity such as looking at a photo album or working on a craft together.

Join the Conversation.

We’d love to hear your experiences and your unique ideas about spending time with people who have memory loss. Please share your comments below.

About the Author:

Karoline Hutson is the Marketing Communications Specialist at Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services. For more Alzheimer’s and Dementia caregiving tips geared to enhance visits to those with memory loss, please visit the Chicago Senior Pulse Blog.

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2 Replies

  • By Janice Malcolm

    Depending on the stage of the dementia often they still do enjoy going to a concert, a walk in a park, a visit to a lake, time with a pet. They may no longer be near the lake they use to visit but you can take them to a lake nearby and talk about the memories. If they are physically healthy a nice walk is not only uplifting but it is good exercise and keeping them strong protects against fall risk, blood clots etc… If you are concerned if it would be too much for them, take a wheelchair. They can use it to hold on to as they walk and sit down if they get tired. My Mother loved to dance and she didn’t need to know her name to do it!

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