For many of us, our loved ones are no longer able to safely live at home. This is an unfortunate reality to the aging process in America. Research tells us that those over 65 years of age, classified as Older Americans, have over a 70% chance of needing some form of long-term care in the future. For many of those individuals it means assistance in a long-term care facility.

Today, there are a number of different forms of long-term care facilities. Gone are the days when we just looked to a nursing home for assistance. Now, Ohio seniors can make the choice, depending on their health and financial needs, to enter into an independent living facility, assisted living facility, or a skilled nursing home. There are different versions of each type of these care providers and, additionally, there are also options that allow for care to be provided to the senior at home as well.

If you have a senior loved one who is in a long-term care facility, however, it is critical that you and your entire family make a plan for visitation. Research sheds light on the fact that both loneliness and depression are real killers for our aging population, and this can be avoided by simply visiting our loved ones. 

What makes a successful visit in a long-term care facility? What are the “dos and don’ts” you should know and plan for? Let us share six key tips with you here in our blog that you can use in your visits with your loved ones.

1. Ask what the visiting hours are in advance. You need to know when the facility can accept visitors and that it is in line with your loved ones needs. Are there special considerations you need to be aware of? What portion of visiting hours are best for your loved one?

2. Check in on age groups. You may have multiple age groups in your visiting party. Grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and even babies, will brighten a senior’s day. Based on his or her circumstances, though, visits may not be appropriate or may need to be shortened to accommodate everyone. Be sure to ask in advance.

3. Share a meal. If you can, schedule a visit when your loved one is eating. You can reminisce about shared memories of cooking or eating together. It will also give you a chance to meet those your loved one socializes with, and give you a chance to check in on the quality of the food.

4. Bring scrapbooks, photo albums, and pictures. Chances are your loved one has only a small amount of storage and was unable to bring everything from his or her home. Be sure to bring scrapbooks or pictures that you may be holding onto to share and discuss.

5. Be ready to share the news. Remember, you are your loved ones outlet to the outside news. Be prepared to share life updates and family news. Also, try to be ready to share updates about the hometown or far away family members’ travels and, of course, answer questions.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Please know that just making the effort to be there can mean so much to your aging loved one. Do not wait to ask us your questions and schedule a meeting to answer your elder care questions.