Visiting residents in a nursing home or hospital can be a little uncomfortable the first time or two.
Many people avoid visiting because they don’t know what to say or do when they arrive. Others struggle with how long they should stay, or they’re unsure if the resident is up to seeing visitors. If you are unsure, the best thing to do is call ahead and the staff or a family member should be able to help. Residents love to have visitors and maintain contact with the community.
Usually it’s best to make short but frequent visits. Take cues from the resident to know if they’re becoming tired.
Give the resident your full attention and listen with your heart as well as your ears. Watch body language and be alert to the feelings that may be expressed beneath the words.
Take a walk around the facility. This can be a great opportunity to meet others and converse.
Share information about your family and friends. Any moments, big or small are fun to talk about when you have someone in common.
Participate in a favorite pastime together. Work on a puzzle, crossword or play cards. Some residents also enjoy watching family or friends do an activity they previously took part in.
Go outdoors and look at the scenery or go for a drive in the country.
Read the newspaper, books, poems, magazines, scriptures or cards. These will likely be conversation starters.
Bring old pictures, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, etc. and reminisce about fun times you’re had together.
Sit with the resident and enjoy some quiet time together. Sometimes holding someone’s hand, receiving a hug or just watching television together can be comforting. Appreciate the small things as they can make a huge impact.
Attend activities in the facility. You’re always welcome to take part and enjoy planned events or help the resident to participate.
Remember to try to bring happiness and laughter to the resident during your visit. As I said in my last article, laughter is the best medicine.Information provided by Kelsey Klaver, marketing director of Crestview Nursing and Rehabilitation, 2401 Des Moines St., Webster City. For more information, call (515) 832-2727.