JLinks Physiotherapy, offers a couple of simple tips to make your visit more stimulating and rewarding and help you to focus on making everyone feel comfortable.
Some families say they run out of things to say to their loved ones when visiting them regularly in their care homes.
People with memory problems or those with sensory impairments can struggle to join in a conversation or cannot hear in large groups. This can mean you will have a one-way conversation which can make for an awkward visit.
You might find focussing your visit on making the person feel safe and happy is far more beneficial than worrying about who or what they can remember.
We think focusing on an activity may help.
Here are a few tried and tested suggestions from us.
1) Make the visit fun and active with a smile and a walk.
You could plan to walk or borrow a wheelchair and visit another area of the care home your loved one has not been to for a while.
2) Tap into every sense to stimulate feelings of happy times. Try taking in some music which you know will be familiar to your loved one and play it on your phone in their room. You may even encourage a little bit of movement and exercise.
3) Surprise bags are great for all the family! We use a drawer string bag and place in it household objects or small items from the family home which are not sharp or fragile. Take it in turns to pull out an object and discuss it’s use or where it usually lives at home.
4) Taking in some family photos or some books from the library with fashions/history from other decades is also good fun for all the family. Discuss the hairstyles and hemlines!
5) For those who enjoy exercises, we often use colourful balloons or various sized balls.
Sensory balls can be purchased in the Baby-Sensory sections of toy shops and websites. These balls are often brightly coloured and are easier to handle. Gently encourage movement in sitting by passing the ball or sitting and kicking the ball to each other. Encouraging seated exercises, gets all the good hormones released and gives all the family a feel-good-factor! If you would like some specific exercises you can do regularly with your loved one, JLinks Physiotherapy can set this up with you.
Remember, all that’s really important is that the person you are visiting feels safe, happy and loved.