Sometimes, guilt or sadness about a move to assisted living keeps family members and friends from visiting. Sometimes, it may just be an uncertainty about what to do after you arrive, a fear of sitting in silence in your loved one’s apartment, watching the clock, making small talk.
Here is a list of simple ideas for making an assisted living visit meaningful and enjoyable:
- Do a volunteer project together, either on or off the campus.
- Connect with long-distance family or friends on Skype (or FaceTime).
- Play games (cards, board games, trivia, Sudoku).
- Cook together or have a meal together in the community’s kitchen/dining facilities.
- Watch a favorite TV show together; plan your visits around it and spend time talking about it before/after the program (and bring snacks to enjoy while you watch).
- Listen to music or participate in a sing-a-long.
- Learn to knit, crochet, or some other crafty activity.
- Participate in activities sponsored by the community.
- Make daily or weekly calls. If you’re not sure what to talk about, ask about a childhood memory or story about living during the war or raising kids. You may learn something new!
- Celebrate traditions and holidays. It’s not as much about gifts but about time together; routines and rituals can be special or simple and help to promote normalcy.
When you find something that works, stick with it!
Your turn: What do you like to do when you visit a friend or relative in assisted living?