Visiting a senior loved one in assisted living may not be an easy thing, depending on how far away the community is and what your work schedule is like. Sometimes, it is too emotionally painful to see your friend or family member declining, to see them losing independence and cognitive function. If the move was prompted by the death of a spouse, seeing them alone in this new living arrangement sparks sadness, guilt and grief. Many visitors also find they are at a loss for words or even things to do when they come.
Winter weather makes the prospect of visiting even more overwhelming and disagreeable. However, that does not mean you should stop reaching out, that you can “take the winter off” and delay visits until the spring. Winter is a time when activities that are enjoyable in warmer temperatures (a daily walk, sitting on the porch or patio, birdwatching) become nearly impossible. Having to stay in more often, paired with the lack of sunlight, can be frustrating and depressing. Your visit could be the desperately needed bright spot in your loved one’s day or week.
The activities department in assisted living provides options for engagement year-round. Perhaps participating in an activity together will make your visit more meaningful and enjoyable. It might even encourage your loved one to get involved in more programs on a regular basis, when you’re not there.