Dementia is a debilitating condition that affects over 5 million Americans. This progressive disorder affects a person’s memory, cognitive ability, and behavior, making it difficult to carry out daily activities.
People struggling with dementia need care and support from their loved ones, whether they live at home or in memory care. However, one question commonly arises: how often should you visit someone with dementia?
It’s important to regularly visit a loved one with dementia, especially if they live alone or in memory care. Start by visiting roughly three times a week as they adapt to their new schedule, but as your loved one adjusts, you can scale this down if needed.
The fact that you visit is one of the most important things to help support a loved one with dementia.
The Importance of Visiting a Loved One With Dementia
Regular visits are crucial for your loved one to have a high quality of life—especially if they live alone. As we age, it’s extremely common to feel more alone or isolated, and this is especially true for seniors struggling with any form of memory impairment. With feelings of social isolation and loneliness significantly impacting a person’s health, it is essential to regularly visit your loved ones if they have dementia.
This can help improve your loved one’s mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. By spending time with and supporting them, you can help provide a sense of familiarity and comfort, reducing feelings of confusion, agitation, and isolation. It also helps to plan your visits like a schedule to help build a routine.
If your loved one has recently moved to a memory care community, you should visit them roughly three times a week for an hour. This can build a sense of familiarity as they adjust to their new environment and help stimulate them mentally. As time goes by and they adapt, you can scale this back as needed—but it’s still extremely beneficial to continue visiting as often as possible.
How a Regular Schedule Can Benefit Someone With Dementia
The importance of a regular schedule for a loved one with dementia can’t be overstated. A routine can help reduce anxiety or confusion by providing a sense of structure, and in the earlier days of memory care, this can make a big difference to your loved one’s quality of life. They may be struggling with feeling disoriented in their new surroundings, so by establishing regular visits, you can bring a sense of normalcy to their changing life.
Regular visits can also help maintain their cognitive state, as engaging in familiar activities with familiar people can keep the mind active and slow the progression of cognitive decline. It can also help them focus on their schedule by having predictability.
It also helps you know they’re getting the care they need. Regularly visiting a loved one with dementia allows you to check in on their well-being and address any concerns or issues they may be having. This can help you improve their quality of life by changing their environment and helping fix problems that may be developing.
How to Stay Connected with a Loved One with Dementia
Fortunately, in today’s digital age, you have many options to stay connected with your loved one, even if you can’t visit them in person. You can try:
- Video calls with a cell phone, tablet, or computer
- Phone calls
- Sending cards, letters, and care packages
Many devices, like specialized tablets and cell phones, are designed for seniors with memory impairment. These devices have easy-to-use interfaces, large buttons, and a simple design so they can be easily accessed by people struggling with cognitive decline.
Avoiding Caregiver Burnout
It’s important to regularly visit your loved ones struggling with memory impairment. Try starting by visiting them at least 3 times a week for an hour at a time as they adjust to their new environment. As time goes by, you can scale this down if needed. The unfortunate nature of memory impairment means that they may not remember how long you visited—they just remember you visited.
However, caregiving for a loved one with dementia can be challenging and stressful. It’s important you take the time to avoid caregiver burnout by establishing a support system for both you and your loved one.
At Fox Trail Memory Care in Hillsdale, we understand the complex nature of caring for someone with dementia. Schedule a visit today, and let us help you care for your loved one dealing with memory impairment.