During the holidays, most assisted living communities host a Thanksgiving buffet or holiday brunch, and residents are often joined by family and friends for these special meals. Those who are able may leave the community for the day to be with their family and friends, perhaps gathering at an adult child’s home in the area.
Although assisted living facilities are designed with a cozier, more home-like feel than a nursing home, many still find it awkward or difficult to visit a loved one there. It could be the emotional aspect more than the physical setting, that is, seeing your once very independent grandmother in a place where she needs assistance is upsetting and makes you hesitant to go. However, it’s important to remember that this is her new home, and she’d welcome a visit from you there just as much as she would at her former home.
Try to keep this in mind, that nothing has really changed other than your loved one’s location. Grandpa’s health may be failing, or your great aunt may have the beginnings of dementia, but both are still the seniors you know and love. Visit in that spirit, rather than in a spirit of discomfort. Bring along a few family photo albums to look at together, and maybe some board games or a deck of cards. And what family gathering is complete without snacks? Food is a great equalizer; bring grandma’s favorite chocolate chip cookies and a half-gallon of milk and you’re set.