Happy multi-generation family walking in the countryside

With the festive season around the corner, planning visits to see grandparents is a common occurrence for many people. Visiting a grandparent living with Alzheimers or Dementia requires special considerations and thoughtful planning to ensure that the visit goes well for both you and your loved one. 

 

Here are 5 tips for planning a successful visit:

  • Plan, Plan, and Plan
    1. Planning ahead is an essential part of making the visit a success. Last minute drop ins or stopping en route to another destination are challenging for both grandparents and their caregiver. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia find comfort and stability in their daily routine. Unaccounted disruptions to their daily schedules can upset their equilibrium and can even take a few days to recover if they are in the later stages of progression. 
    2. Specify the day and time you will visit.  Planning ahead is respectful of everyone’s time and optimizes the visits’ success. It allows caregivers to prep grandparents for the visit and make any adjustments to their daily routine. 
    3. Plan an activity or a general itinerary for the visit. Grandparents with Alzheimer’s or dementia may not be as talkative or responsive. Having a plan for the visit helps to engage both children and grandparents alike and makes for a meaningful visit. 

  • Prepare Your Children
    1. Before your visit, sit your children down and explain what the visit might entail. 
      1. Older grandkids might remember their grandparents before Alzheimer’s or dementia became a part of their life. It’s important to acknowledge that their physical and cognitive health may have changed so they are not scared when they meet them. 
      2. Younger grandkids might not understand how to connect or engage with grandparents. Explain how Alzheimer’s or dementia can impact a loved one’s personality or behavior. Discuss appropriate behavior, questions, and responses. 
    2. Go over different scenarios and role play to help kids feel comfortable before their visit. Being prepared is helpful for them and you. It will help decrease any stress or questions beforehand so that everyone is at ease during the visit.
    3. Listen to your kids. If they don’t feel comfortable, it’s okay to acknowledge and come up with an alternative plan. Perhaps your spouse or partner can take the kids out for a walk while you continue the visit. A quiet activity or snack is also a great distraction to keep them busy if they want to stay but are not comfortable engaging. 

  • Discuss the Visit with the Caregiver
    1. Involve the caregiver with your visit and planning. They spend the most time with your loved ones and can offer insights or tips to help plan a successful visit. Advice on the day or time to visit, as well as suggestions for activities are a great way to engage kids during the visit. Individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia can enjoy activities like coloring or listening to music. 
    2. Listen to their suggestions. It is okay to acknowledge that it might be difficult to plan a visit according to a caregiver’s input. After all, these are your parents and you have known them your entire life. It’s easy to fall back on the idea of “they have always enjoyed baking cookies” or “ my mom doesn’t like watching tv.” Don’t forget, Alzheimer’s or dementia can alter your loved one in many ways. A caregiver is with them 24/7 and knows their changing moods or personality. This is not about the person they were, but the condition they are living with. Following the caregivers advice is essential for a good visit. 

  • Follow Through 
    1. Life can be unpredictable and plans can change. However, this visit requires planning on both your part, and the grandparents/ their caregiver. Changing plans at the last minute means that rescheduling the visit might not be easy or even feasible before the holidays. Although unavoidable cancellations might occur, it is important to try and keep to the plan as best as possible.
    2. On a personal level, grandparents will have been prepped by their caregiver. Living with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be very isolating and seasonal depression around the holidays is also common for seniors. The excitement of seeing family is something to look forward to, and a last minute cancellation can be difficult to manage.

  • Manage Expectations
    1. It is essential to go into the visit with an open mind and a back-up plan in case things don’t go as anticipated. There are multiple factors to consider – from grandparents having an off day, to children not cooperating, it is possible for the visit to change direction. 
    2. Be prepared with an alternative plan – shorten the length of the visit, engage in a different activity, or even ask the caregiver to be present and participate. Remember, the goal is to make this a pleasant and memorable experience for everyone.

 

Care Mountain

While there is no formula for the perfect visit, our expert team at Care Mountain and our highly experienced caregivers provide significant support to helping you establish a successful live-in caregiver team for your loved one. A set of good live-in caregivers can become your biggest support as they help you by providing compassion and dignity to your parents, as well as practical advice for managing activities like holiday visits.

At Care Mountain, we have over 17 years of focused experience providing in-home care and support across the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. We work with experienced caregivers who understand the nuances and challenging environment of providing in-home care to seniors with Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, dementia and many other progressive conditions.

Care Mountain’s extensive network of in-home caregivers can provide support across the Metroplex. From Plano, Allen, McKinney, Preston Hollow, Dallas, Highland Park, Fort Worth, and Southlake to Arlington, Contact us today to see how we can help provide support and 24/7 care to help you or your loved ones.

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