Nurses’ Notes – Practical, Helpful Tips for Caregivers

Tips for a Successful Visit with a Loved One with Dementia

    1. Always find out the best time to visit. Sharing time is what is important.

Meal times can be very positive as you can assist your loved one with his/her meal.

Avoid visiting at nap time, at bath times unless staff requests your gentle support and at times when other activities are scheduled such as music or art therapy.

  1. Keep visits and activities calm, simple and short. Understanding the Dementia of your loved ones can help you understand the losses and build on their strengths. Large groups may cause confusion and anxiety. Also long visits may be tiring and overwhelming.
  1. Listen to loved one patiently even when he/she is sad. Hold hands and hug. Gentle touch may be comforting and reassuring.
  1. Do not quiz loved one. No one likes to be asked things they do not know. Be respectful of their limitations. Remember to include your loved one in the conversation. Keep it happy, simple and welcoming of his/her participation.
  1. Always introduce yourself and others. Wearing name tags is often helpful. Your loved one may forget your name but that does not mean they do not know you or still love you.
  1. Plan meaningful activities you can do together:
    • Try bringing favourite snack
    • Look at photo albums. Leave albums in the room so that staff can also use them during quiet times.
    • Play cards and dominos if these are familiar activities
    • Listen to loved ones favorite music and sing–a-long with the music. If your loved one enjoys music concerts, come on those days to visit and join them for the concert.
    • Go for a walk inside or outside depending on the weather. Orientate loved ones to the environment such as flowers, sky, trees, smells etc..
    • Read simple stories about holidays or familiar activities to help with reminiscing
    • Do manicures or lotion hands during the visit as these are very relaxing activities.
  1. Leave your visit on a positive note telling your loved one how much you love them and that you will be back very soon.
Photo of Rosalee Berlin

Rosalee Berlin

Rosalee is a Geriatric Nurse Consultant, who was a teacher since 1982, working at Baycrest for 13 years. See Rosalee’s full bio on our team page.