Tips for visiting a loved one who has memory loss

If your loved one has memory loss, call ahead and ask the staff to remind the resident of your visit.

Try to plan visits around your loved one’s schedule.

If communication is a problem try one or more of the following activities with your loved one:

• Bring an old family photo album; sing songs you remember from childhood; read aloud from a favorite book; try a manicure; take a walk; look at flowers; engage with other residents, which provides the opportunity to have a group conversation.

• Get a calendar of events and activities so you can plan your visits around something you know you and your loved one will enjoy doing together. You can also volunteer to assist with an outing or activity.

• Remember to meet your loved one where he or she is (emotionally) at that particular moment; for someone with memory loss it is important to validate feelings.

• Make your visit count by checking in with staff for an update or by assessing your loved one’s personal needs (such as clothing, toiletries, etc).

• Keep in mind that emotions are not logical, and try to see the humor in upsetting situations.

• Give positive feedback and reassurance to your loved one during visits.

Elaine Zolfarelli, MSW, is director of social services at the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville.