Making the Most Out of Your Visiting Times with Loved Ones

A young woman visiting her senior relative in an assisted living facility

Having a loved one who lives away from home can make frequent visits difficult. If you don’t get to see your loved one as often as you’d like, it’s understandable that you want to make the most out of the time you get to spend with them.

While every family is different and certain health conditions can make visits a little more challenging, these general tips may help you to ensure that both you and your loved one enjoy the visit as much as possible.

Keep Things Relaxed

If you want to ensure that everyone involved enjoys visiting time, try to keep the conversation relaxed. Discuss pleasant, casual topics with your loved one and make an effort to keep the conversation from becoming tense or one-sided if possible.

Enjoy Comfortable Silence

Sometimes, the conversation might lull, or if your loved one is nonverbal, you might be the only one speaking. However, don’t feel like you have to keep talking. If a natural silence occurs, let it. You can enjoy the time you’re spending with someone you love regardless of whether you’re speaking or not.

Manage the Time Spent

Timing is an important part of an enjoyable visit. You’ll want to plan your visit ahead of time and check with the staff to see if you’re coming in at a convenient time. You don’t want to mistakenly plan a visit when your loved one has an activity planned or just wants to rest.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to avoid overwhelming your loved one by staying too long (or upsetting them by leaving too soon). Gauge your loved one’s mood to determine whether you should wrap up your visit or stay a little longer.

When you leave, try to do so casually. Avoid making a big deal out of your departure, especially if your loved one doesn’t understand why you have to leave.

(Possibly) Bring Your Children

This last tip truly depends on the situation. If your loved one is very sick or may be in a state that’s difficult or traumatic for young children, you might want to forego this step. However, if your children are interested in visiting your loved one with you, and your loved one would really like to see the children, bring them along to the visit.

It might be very beneficial for your loved one to see several friendly faces at a time. Plus, if your children are old enough to talk, they might provide your loved one with pleasant conversation.

If one visit goes poorly, try not to be hard on yourself or your loved one. Remain positive and try again with the next visit. Speaking with your loved one’s caregiver ahead of your visit may also help you prepare effectively as well.