Father’s Day is coming up this weekend and we have compiled a list of tips and reminders to allow for a relaxing and pleasant visit.
We also created a checklist to help you look out for any important changes in your loved one’s life.
Some tips for terrific visits:
Time your visit with care. Many frail elders have the most energy and alertness in the morning or right after a midday meal. Or sharing the meal itself can give you both something to focus on, especially if your loved one could use a little help. Call ahead to ask if you’re unsure when a good visiting time is.
Focus on the person inside — that’s who you want to connect with. He is still there, even if the outer package has changed considerably. It can help to look into the person’s eyes. They really are the “window to the soul.”
Try a change of scenery. Moving out of the room can boost mood and give you both fresh focal points to talk about. If there’s a courtyard or garden, your loved one may welcome a chance to spend time there. Or consider going out, if he or she is able to leave the premises with you easily — even if just for a Sunday drive with no destination.
Don’t get intimidated by dementia. Most of these tips can apply to spending time with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease. You’ll need to be more patient with repetition and circular conversations, of course. But in some ways, this takes the pressure off: Find out what promotes a good time — music, looking at photos, a change of scenery — and run with it, visit after visit.
In general, look for signs of trouble with thinking skills, vision, and physical activity.
Physical and mental health
- Have they lost weight or do they seem more frail?
- Do they have trouble having normal conversations?
- Do you notice any strange new behaviors like repeating stories or being unusually confused about simple things?
- Are they squinting or tripping over things much more than usual?
- Social life
- Do they still do the activities they used to enjoy?
- Are they keeping up with their usual friends and community organizations?