If your parent lives alone, a visit can clue you into any signs of declining cognition, health or mobility. If they have home care assistance or live in a senior living community, a visit is a perfect time to make sure their living situation is keeping them happy and healthy. Learn the signs of common health problems as well as markers of abuse, so that you can detect any problems early.
Perhaps the most important reason to visit loved ones is the chance to check up on their happiness and health and make sure nothing has changed to concern you since the last time you saw them. If they suffer from chronic illness, how are they coping? Do they need extra help with care, chores, finances or medications? Do they need a little encouragement to ensure healthy nutrition and fitness?
Just as visits can bring back positive memories, there are times when they can get us down, too, especially if your senior member is grieving a spouse or living alone. A visit from loved ones can help everyone stay connected. Also, reminiscing can help our parents and senior loved ones feel young and happy. Taking the time to create new cherished memories will ensure that the entire family has good times to look back on in the future.
It may feel like a given, but sometimes it takes your physical presence to make your loved ones happy. Taking time out to spend with them throughout the years is a valuable reminder that you love them and are thinking of them even when you’re not able to be around.
Visits also serve as a time to reminisce about past history get-togethers with family. Albums, conversation, home videos, music and photos can prompt nostalgia. These memory prompts can be beneficial to those with dementia and memory loss. Too many of our strongest memories are connected with the sights, smells and sounds of visits which can bring back those happy times for our senior loved ones and ourselves.
Sometimes it’s impossible to swing an in-person visit, no matter how much we might want to check on our loved ones and spend time with them. Fortunately, there are other ways that we can, and should, remind our senior loved ones that we’re thinking of them, like through cards, emails, letters, phone calls , photos, video chats and Skype.
This information was provided by Sarah Stevenson, a writer, artist, editor and graphic designer, northern California.