Chances are, if you’re a caregiver, you spend a lot of time driving to doctor’s appointments, picking up groceries, paying bills, filling prescriptions, or helping your loved one with household chores.
As a caregiver, most “visits” with your loved one are filled with tasks and to-do lists that are waiting for your attention. While these tasks and to-do lists are important and worthy of your attention, it is also important to slow down and take some time to enjoy a meaningful visit with your aging loved one.
A meaningful visit is the kind of visit that puts a smile on your face (and your loved one’s) as you leave; it is a visit that builds memories, strengthens relationships, and awakens gratitude for the love that you share with your family member.
Here are ideas to help inspire you to build memories and share new experiences with your aging loved one.
Family Picnic: On a nice day, plan an impromptu family picnic! Whether your loved one lives in their own home, in an apartment, or in an assisted living community, chances are, you can find an outdoor table available somewhere. Be sure to bring along a comfortable chair for your loved one and enjoy a picnic together outside in the fresh air.
Picture Time: Collect old photos of your loved one’s past (when you find them in the attic) and share the photos at family gatherings or with friends. Family photos are great conversation starters....let the story-telling begin!
Relaxation and Meditation: Sit with your loved one in a calming environment and allow yourself to release tension and stress, while listening to the soothing sounds of nature, or other quiet music. Practice deep breathing and focusing your mind on the many things in life you are thankful for.
Laugh Out Loud: There are many ways to bring humor into a visit with your family member. Watch a funny video, DVD or TV show, bring in a funny cartoon, or share a fun joke that you may have heard.
Messages From the Heart: Don’t forget how important it is to communicate love! Create a “messages from the heart” envelope for a loved one. Cut out heart-shaped pieces of paper and write something you appreciate about your loved one on the individual hearts each time you visit. Leave them in the envelope for your loved one to read whenever they are feeling lonely or discouraged.
Soothe the Mind with Music: Dig up your loved one’s old music collection and help them re-live memories with their favorite tunes. Try to find digital music files for each of their favorite songs to preserve them for future listening.
Visit a Local Garden: Enjoy the flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs of a local rose garden, sensory garden or other botanical garden. Take a short walk, enjoy a picnic in the shade and chat about your favorite flowers.
Whether your loved one lives with you in your home, alone in their own home, in an assisted living community, or in any other living arrangement, these ideas can be easily utilized and enjoyed just about anywhere, anytime. Each “visit” was created to work well with older adults, while thoughtfully considering those who may not feel as independent as they once were.
“No road is long with good company.” ~Turkish Proverb
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Connect with Marissa Salvesen
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.