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How to Make Your Nursing Home Visits Meaningful

Isolation and loneliness can have significant negative health impacts for older, more vulnerable nursing home residents, especially during the coronavirus pandemic as social distancing and infection control protocols are continuing to require lengthy periods of separation to limit the spread of COVID-19. As such, nursing homes are encouraging social interactions among residents and emboldening family and friends to visit their loved ones once it’s safe to do so.

When state and local laws do permit you to visit your loved ones in-person, however, you may feel anxiety about what to say or do during your visit, even if that person is someone you love dearly. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed or nervous that your visit will be a lackluster and less-than-meaningful-experience for everyone involved. It’s important, in these situations, to understand the value of your presence and the importance of creating a cherished experience for both you and your loved one. We’ve broken down a few helpful tips to ensure that your visit will be as significant and meaningful as you hope.

How to Prepare for a Valuable Nursing Home Visit

Nursing home visits can be challenging at any time, let alone during a worldwide pandemic. Most nursing homes now have strict visitation rules in place to protect residents from exposure to COVID-19, including the use of unique methods like virtual, window, and drive-up visits. Some nursing homes allow for socially distanced outdoor or indoor visits. Others that have completely shut down their facility from outside visitors will eventually follow suit once it becomes safe to do so. No matter what form your visit takes, you’ll want to make the most of the time with your loved one. It can be very lonely for seniors in nursing homes as they may crave validation, reminiscing about family events, and affirmation of their value and dignity.

However, visits don’t always go as planned. Your loved one may be too tired to interact, they may have had a bad day prior to your visit, or perhaps they’re not in the best mood. Nevertheless, visiting your loved one is crucial for making their day and their time at the nursing home meaningful. Here are some tips to promote successful visits:

Bring Your Children

Young children can bring amazing joy to older adults, even boisterous toddlers. Whether they’re dancing, singing, hugging or high-fiving, the interaction and entertainment of children can brighten any mood.

Connect Through Human Touch

How you soothe someone through touch depends on the person. Some people would love a back rub while others would feel uncomfortable. Most people like to have their hand held or arm stroked. Massage your loved one’s hand while listening to music.

Discuss What’s Going on In Your Life

Talk with your loved one about events going on in the community or family. Don’t assume they can’t understand. Just hearing your voice will bring comfort and keep them connected with the outside world.

Don’t Ask Too Many “Yes” Or “No” Questions

These questions can make it difficult to keep a conversation going and can be stressful for your loved one if they’re unsure of the answer. Instead, reminisce about good memories or tell stories about what’s going on in your life and with other family members.

Think About Questions You’d Like to Ask Staff During Your Visit

Make certain that all of your questions for the staff are prepared well in advance before you arrive. Likewise, make your questions succinct, thank the workers, and always be polite. Health care workers in nursing homes today are under a lot of pressure and have more restrictions on their time.

Anticipate Negative Moments

It’s not uncommon for nursing home residents to feel dissatisfied with their living circumstances. Even if the facility is providing them with a healthy atmosphere, they may still feel disgruntled with what is, understandably, a massive change in environment from what they grew accustomed to earlier in their lives. As a result, they may react aggressively toward you or others. These situations require effective communication strategies. Listen to your loved one if they’re dissatisfied, acknowledge how they feel, and try to see if a solution exists to fix any immediate problems.

Likewise, consider if there may be forms of nursing home abuse in the facility. If you notice any possible signs of mistreatment or manipulation, it’s important that you reach out to an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.

Call an Expert Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in New York City

During your visit, in addition to providing your loved one with a valuable and cherished experience, you may also want to keep an eye out for any signs of elder abuse. As more and more time is spent between visits based on COVID-19 protocols, it’s a sad reality that not all facilities care for seniors as they should given the lack of in-person oversight from families and friends. If you believe that a loved one is caught up in a harmful or neglectful situation during your visit, contact the trusted attorneys at Dalli and Marino.

We’re a group of successful nursing home abuse lawyers whose verdicts and settlements have recovered millions of dollars for our clients since 1996. Our team of highly skilled trial attorneys approaches each case on an individual basis and are dedicated to helping you recover the money you deserve to compensate you for any mistreatment. Give us a call at (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form today.