Seniors enjoy having their days filled with enjoyment, fun, good food and some interaction with family and friends. Visiting family and friends in senior living communities can bring joy to the residents and their guests, helping them cultivate the feeling that they matter and belong. Senior Lifestyle communities welcome and encourage visits with residents.
Senior Lifestyle has engaging activities for residents, plus activities family members and friends can enjoy alongside them. There are several activities you may not have thought about.
Registering as a Guest of a Senior Resident
As a visitor, you may be asked to sign in upon entering a senior living community. That may include providing the following:
- Arrival and departure times
- Temperature checking
- Resident’s apartment number
- Resident’s name
Why Must Visitors of Senior Communities Sign in as Guests?
Guests must sign in to protect the residents. The safety of residents and their visitors is a top priority of communities for seniors. “Visitor management,” as it is sometimes called, involves monitoring who goes in and out and can help deter those who might want to harm seniors.
Volunteers, staff and even contractors and vendors for the facility are also among guests who are required to sign in.
Greeters: By Receptionist or Technology
Visitor registration is conducted by the traditional paper-and-clipboard method, or, more recently, by an automated device in some communities. The latter involves adding the same information, including standing in front of the device while your photo and temperature is taken. Your photo and the primary information you supply, may print out on a wearable label to stick on your clothes for the duration of your visit.
Don’t be surprised if a staff member or receptionist already seems to know a little about you. They may have heard about you from your resident senior friend or family member. That’s because some residents feel inclined to tell them all about your impending visit in eager anticipation of your arrival. Consider that a compliment.
What’s the Proper Length of Time for a Visit to a Senior?
As we age, daily maintenance in our lives tends to grow exponentially. The proper length of your visit with a senior has a number of considerations, including the resident’s:
- Scheduled health needs
- Personal hygiene
- Personal preferences
Most importantly, inform yourself about the senior mealtimes and other important maintenance activities in their daily lives. Be cognizant of and honor mealtimes, medication dispensing times and bedtimes with respect to their health.
A nurse or aide may be able to offer some clues. You can also inquire with your senior friend. Be careful not to pry.
Scheduled Health Needs
Not all of a senior’s health needs may be visible. These may include:
- Injections for ailments, such as diabetes
- Daily wound dressings
- Medications for a variety of conditions, including ointments applied by staff
- Adult incontinence hygiene products
- Scheduled dietary requirements, such as for diabetes or other ailments
Special Dietary Needs and Mealtimes
The times or intervals in which food is ingested is critical for some people, especially for seniors and others with strict dietary needs. Appetites can wane with age, and certain medications can contribute to diminished appetites. Still, seniors have to eat to retain their well-being and health.
Respect the fact that your senior friend or family member may consider their special nutritional intake requirements a private matter. A nurse or staff member may deliver a snack mid-visit to the resident that seems a bit small or unusual.
Don’t ask for a bite or be offended if they don’t offer to share. Some dietary needs for such residents are strictly measured for daily health maintenance. You may even want to politely bow out of the visit and leave rather than compel your friend or family member to explain.
Senior Lifestyle communities allow guests to enjoy meals with residents in their apartments, rooms, or common dining rooms. This can provide joy to residents who are eager to introduce their family or friends to other residents.
It’s not unheard of for seniors to enjoy their visits with guests so much that they fail to mention when it’s drawing close to scheduled mealtimes. Some facilities may allow guests to stay and enjoy breakfast-lunch-supper meals with their residents while some may not.
Ask the staff if you need to make prior arrangements with the facility to join your senior at a meal.
Senior Bedtimes and Nap Times
Like anybody else, not all seniors want to take naps as many may assume, but some do. Soon after greeting your senior resident family member or friend, ask them about their daily habits, including bed and nap times, but be careful not to pry. Honor them, even if they try to encourage you to stay.
Visiting hours for the senior living community may be posted, but they may not match the personal preferences of their residents. They may have a favorite television program that is part of their daily routine. If so, honor that, and schedule your visit around the program.
Just like anybody else, residents may not want unannounced visitors to drop by for a visit. Ask the community staff or, ideally, the residents themselves if they want to host your visit on a particular day and at a particular time.
Communicating With Seniors From Afar
Many seniors are capable of using technology ranging from smartphones to tablets and wearable technology to laptop computers. Some may be comfortable on a smartphone texting friends and family or using a tablet to connect via teleconferencing.
>> Read “Best Tablets for Seniors.”
Of course, not all seniors are capable of using technology. For them, a traditional, wired telephone may be more appropriate for keeping in touch. The important thing is that family members and friends keep in regular communication with seniors. Even if your senior is technologically savvy, be sure you call to hear each other’s voices on a regular basis.
Enjoy Activities With Seniors
Many senior communities and facilities offer planned activities each week that residents and their guests can enjoy together. These may include:
- Musical performances
- Monthly resident birthday celebrations
- New residents welcome social hours
- Holiday parties
- Happy hours
- Board games, card games and trivia
Seniors often may invite friends and family to events themselves. Be sure to check with the community’s staff to ensure the event isn’t a resident-only affair. There are other ways you can learn about activities you can join in with community residents.
For example, check whether the community has a Facebook or Instagram page where notices of upcoming events are posted. Also, look at the community’s calendar for a fun event you can join in on.
As a courtesy, be sure to get the “okay” from the senior resident before showing up to the event.
Should You Tell Seniors You’re Going to Visit?
There are upsides and downsides to this. Don’t promise to show up for a visit and then renege or forget your promise. If that does occur, apologize to the senior as soon as you can. Don’t offer to take them to lunch or visit unless you are sincere about your offer.
If you intend to plan an actual visit, much of the fun of the event can be in the anticipation of it. They may be so excited that they tell other residents about the impending visit only to have to explain to them later that the intended guest never showed up.
The bottom line is, if you promise a visit or an outing, do it.
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Visit a Senior Lifestyle Community and See For Yourself
Senior Lifestyle welcomes family and friends to visit seniors. Some of the programming available to residents is planned with visits in mind, so contact your senior’s community to get more details and sign up for a visit.