Visiting a loved one who has Alzheimer's can be an emotionally difficult undertaking, but these visits are important. If you're planning to see a loved one with Alzheimer's in the near future, you may be wondering what you should and shouldn't do in their presence. By being aware of some basic guidelines, you can ensure that your visit goes as smoothly as possible for all involved.
DO Plan Accordingly
Whether you're visiting them in an assisted living facility, like Baywood Home Care, or in a family member's home, take the time to plan ahead. Because being around large groups of people can be stressful to a person with Alzheimer's, you may want to avoid bringing more than one other person along with you for the visit. Of course, this will vary from one person to the next. If you're unsure, ask the caregiver or assisted living facility for a recommendation on visitors and ideal visiting times.
DON'T Take Anything Personally
Unfortunately, Alzheimer's often causes people to say things they don't mean or to react to things differently out of confusion. If your loved one says or does anything that hurts your feelings or upsets you, try your best not to take it personally.
DO Focus on Open-Ended Questions
When holding a conversation with somebody who has Alzheimer's, it's best to stick with open-ended questions, which don't have any inherently "wrong" answers. This can help you and your loved one carry on a more comfortable conversation. For example, instead of saying, "do you remember the last time I visited?" try saying something along the lines of, "how have you been since the last time I visited?"
DON'T Touch Without Permission
Finally, keep in mind that people with Alzheimer's can be easily alarmed or scared by sudden or unexpected physical contact. As a general rule, then, you should avoid any hugging, touching, or similar contact unless you receive direct permission. If and when you do attempt contact, such as a hug, try to do it slowly and as gently as possible so as not to cause any confusion or fear. If in doubt, avoid direct contact altogether and stick to conversation.
These are just some basic guidelines to keep in mind when visiting somebody with Alzheimer's. While the visit may not go exactly as you might expect or hope, your visits may improve over time as you learn to better understand and react to your loved one.