Four Tips to Ensure Successful Visits with those Living with Dementia
First and foremost, stay as calm as possible! Your energy will be absorbed in and will be contagious, especially for those living with dementia. What value does it bring to the time spent together if you insist on bringing them into your stress/anxiety? Imagine the energy of the visit if one blurted out“ This virus and pandemic is just terrible isn’t it?”
Do your homework and prepare what you might say before the visit or phone call. It is not necessary to download them with all the realities of the world or the news. It is best to keep things short, for example, “ It’s been a busy time and I will visit again as soon as I possibly can.” Instead, focus on in the moment joys- for example, “ You look so pretty today in that color. It is so wonderful to see you!” or “Your smile has always made me feel better!”
If a live, in-person visit is not possible, the other options may be the phone or possibly a video call. This may be a good solution, however, consider first the skills that the person living with dementia has left. Can they hear well on a phone/video call? Were they a person who enjoyed being on the phone in their normal routines in life? These considerations will reveal to you whether it makes sense to reach out to them via phone. Try to set them up for as much success as possible!
Know that you are doing the best you can. Give yourself grace that in the most difficult of circumstances, your love and support are what is important to the person living with dementia.