The Importance of Visiting Older Family Members
Having meaningful relationships is critical to maintaining physical and emotional health as we age. Not surprisingly, the familial bond is one of the most important.
Even after your loved one has moved into a retirement community, they still risk experiencing loneliness and social isolation – prevalent issues among the senior community that can be mitigated by regular contact with friends and family.
Physical distance may occasionally pose a problem, in which case phone calls, letters, and emails play a more prominent role. Still, there are multiple reasons why you should make every effort to visit your parents or grandparents as often as you can.
Benefits to Visiting Seniors
Healthy, strong relationships and good communication mutually benefit everyone involved, but they require maintenance. As parents age and potentially struggle with mobility or driving, you can step in and visit them at their retirement campus.
Boosts Cognitive Health and Wards Off Loneliness
Spending time with your parents or grandparents significantly benefits their mental, emotional, and physical health. Recent studies have connected social isolation and loneliness with cognitive decline, increased rates of infection, and even mortality. Conversely, spending time with your loved ones boosts their social and emotional engagement and wards off loneliness.
Improves Memory Recall
Conversations, photos, home videos, and music can prompt nostalgia that reminds you and your loved ones of happy or significant memories. Additionally, you can create new memories through shared experiences, from holiday parties and outings to activities as simple as taking a stroll or eating together.
Ensures They Are Well Cared For
Making in-person visits also lets you take stock of your loved one’s living situation and ensure they are happy and healthy. Additionally, you can gauge how they are coping with a chronic illness, if they need encouragement with nutrition and fitness, or if they could use extra help with finances, medications, or daily tasks.
Shows You Care
Perhaps most importantly, a visit communicates how much you love and care about someone. It demonstrates that you will put forth time and effort to stay connected. Giving someone your physical presence is often the most meaningful thing you can do for them.
However, seniors are not the only ones who benefit from these visits. It’s equally important for family members, including grandchildren, to foster valuable relationships with grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles. Not only does it help deter your own loneliness, but it allows you to create lasting memories that will be increasingly meaningful later in life.
For young family members, they can hear their grandparents’ stories, learn about their history and heritage, and get to know someone important in your life.
Making Your Visits Meaningful
When you visit your family member – mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa – there are numerous ways you can increase the impact of the visit.
You take them a special gift for a holiday or birthday, or even something simple but special, like a homemade treat unique to your family cookbook. If you’re visiting with children, it could be an opportune time to review an old photo album or childhood mementos together and share stories.
The most important aspect of your visit is how you spend the time, which can vary based on your loved one’s preferences and abilities. They may enjoy getting off campus for a day and visiting a local Federal Way or Seattle attraction or taking a scenic drive to a Washington landmark. You can also share a meal, play a board game, or take a walk on the grounds. Village Green Senior Living has numerous amenities and communal areas, including libraries, cozy parlors, and juice bars, where you can gather with family and friends.
If your parent or grandparent is learning a new hobby, they might enjoy having you try it out with them, which can be a bonding experience for both of you. It is also natural for seniors to want to feel relevant, which means asking for their opinions, sharing what is going on in their life, or discussing a topic they are both interested in. You are never too old for advice or guidance from your parents, and open communication is critical for maintaining healthy relationships.
Visitation Guidelines at Village Green
Most retirement facilities, such as Village Green, know how important it is for residents to stay in touch with their families, and they do what they can to facilitate and support visitation. However, a process must be followed to help preserve the safety, security, and comfort of all residents.
When you get to Village Green, you should check in so they are aware of your presence on the campus. They can also fill you in on the schedule of meals and programs for that day. Here, families are encouraged to share meals with residents. In addition, throughout the year, we host brunches, lunches, and special events to which family and friends are invited.
Village Green also encourages family members to be involved in their loved one’s care. We are happy to answer questions and address any concerns you may have regarding visitation or staying in contact with your family member.
Here are some more frequently asked questions we get about visitations!
When are Visitors Allowed?
While you don’t want to cruise in at midnight on a loud motorcycle, most quality senior living campuses have an open-door policy, more or less. Living independently is the biggest draw for senior living communities, so there shouldn’t be too many restrictions on who can visit and when.
Can I Spend the Night? How About Children?
Senior living communities have different policies on whether or not they allow overnight guests. However, Village Green does allow overnight guests. Simply check in at the front desk and let them know you will have guests stay the night.
Are Pets Allowed to Visit?
If you’re a pet owner, you already know how much joy unconditional love can bring. If your parent is fond of your dog, his/her occasional visit would be most welcome. Check on the facility’s animal policy; at the very least, you should be able to bring your pet to visit your parent on the grounds, if not inside.
In addition, some retirement living homes allow residents to have their pets, and some have faculty pets for all to enjoy. Village Green is a pet-friendly campus!
Can I Join My Family Member for a Meal?
You might take it for granted that you would be able to dine with your loved one at a retirement campus, but before moving in, you should still ask. You should be able to share a meal in the dining room with your parent and their friends whenever your schedule allows, but some places have restrictions. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, take your parent to the dining room for lunch or dinner and mingle with the residents. This is the perfect opportunity to get the “inside scoop” on the pros and cons of everyday living at your possible home of choice.
The bottom line is – a senior living community should allow your parent to continue their social interaction with friends and family without significant changes. Village Green encourages families to enjoy a meal and a visit with their loved ones. Once again, please let the front desk know you will have guests so they can plan accordingly. In addition, we do require advanced notice for large group meals in the private dining room.
If your parent or older family member is ready to make the move to a retirement community, Village Green Senior Living in Federal Way and West Seattle, Washington, offers exemplary senior living options. Reach out today to start the conversation!