After taking your loved ones to a retirement community, one way to ease their transition is to visit them regularly.
While visiting is good, it isn’t enough—you need to do fun things that will rejuvenate them. Are you wondering which are these things you need to do? Here they are:
Play a simple family game
If your loved one recently moved to a senior living facility, chances are they have made no friends yet, and this can be lonely for them, especially if they used to live in a large family.
To break this, make it a habit to visit them at least once a week, and don’t come alone—come with other family members such as your children and nieces.
For those that can’t visit, arrange video chats or phone calls.
When you visit, don’t just sit and talk—bring a simple game you can play together as a family. A great idea is to bring a puzzle.
Besides having fun filling it up, it also sharpens your mind, and keeps your elderly parent alert.
Reminisce over family photos and videos
If your loved one is frail and they aren’t looking to engage in any activity, you can simply sit and go over family photos—both old and new.
As you go through the photos, ask questions such as what was happening at a certain time, where a family member in the photo or video went to, how they are fairing, and so on.
If there is a family event that went on, such as a graduation ceremony, and your elderly parent couldn’t attend, come with the photos or videos of the event and go over them.
To make it even more fun, come up with a project such as creating a family tree or family history. Your loved one will have fun doing it, and you will understand your family better.
Enjoy some music
Music has been shown to reduce agitation, boost mood, and increase happiness and engagement. Music is also an excellent way to spend quality time with your loved one.
If your elderly parent can walk around and dance, you can play their favorite songs and ask them to burst a few moves.
Most people respond better to songs that were popular in their younger years, so you should bring a catalog of those.
Your loved one doesn’t have to be in good health to enjoy the songs. Even if they are bedridden, you can sit by their bedside and play the songs.
Of course, to avoid agitating them, ensure that the music is calming and comforting.
If you have a child that loves music and dancing, you can bring them and ask them to dance for your elderly parent.
Sometimes all you need to do is walk around with your loved one. If the senior facility has a large compound, ask your loved one to accompany you for a walk.
Even if your elderly parent is weak and can’t walk, push the wheelchair as you share a bonding moment. During the walk, discuss how they are doing, their feelings, how everything is doing, and any other details.
If the facility is small or doesn’t have a suitable outdoor area, walk around inside the building. This will create a stronger bond between the two of you and help your loved one exercise, which is vital for their health.
Share a family meal or snack.
Nothing brings people together as well as food, so even if you have nothing to talk about with your elderly parent, simply bring some food and enjoy it together.
You can always take your loved one out to a restaurant, but for the best experience, prepare the meal at home and bring it to the facility.
If you don’t have the energy to prepare a full-blown meal or you don’t like cooking, you can prepare simple tea, cookies, cheese, crackers, or anything else that your elderly parent will love.
Pamper your loved one
Unless your loved one is in a high-end senior care facility, chances are they don’t get any pampering. You can bring back your loved one’s youthful years by pampering them.
Depending on your relationship, you can carry scented oils and massage them in the facility. If you aren’t good at it, you can take them for a simple hand or full body massage.
If your loved one doesn’t want to go out of the facility, bring some tools and give them a manicure or pedicure.
The pampering will not only leave your loved one feeling refreshed, but it also will bring the two of you closer together, not to mention making your elderly parent feeling loved.
Watch a favorite show or movie.
Sometimes you will urge visiting your loved one, but you aren’t in the mood to talk much, or you aren’t talkative. In such a scenario, watching a TV show or movie makes sense.
If your loved one has a TV in their room, bring their favorite movie in a flash disk and watch it together.
Even if there is no TV, you can watch from your laptop, computer, or tablet.
You can also stream the movie or TV show from Netflix or any similar platform.
Read a book together.
Do you come from a reading family? Buying a book and reading it together with your loved one can be an excellent way to spend time together without having the pressure of making conversation.
If your elderly parent is bedbound and not responding because of advanced health conditions or having vision problems, read the book aloud or listen to an audio book.
A great way to read or listen to the book is to go through a chapter or two every time you visit.
You have no reason not to visit your loved one.
As you have seen, there are plenty of things you can do with your loved ones when you visit them in a senior living facility.
Most people will avoid visiting as they have little to talk about, but from the above points, talking isn’t the only thing you can do when you visit.
You can read a book, watch a movie, share a meal, among many other things.
There is no excuse to leave your elderly parent lonely, is there?