Initially, visiting a senior loved one in assisted living might seem uncomfortable. What will you do? What should you talk about?
Not to fear – with a little planning, you can have a handful of fun activities to suggest. And our list might just inspire you to create your own favorite visiting activity.
Read on for eight ways you can spend the day with your senior loved one, plus get tips for having a successful visit.
Indoor Activities for Assisted Living Residents
If there’s rainy or cold weather outside, or your loved one is low on energy on the day you visit, there are still plenty of fun activities you can do indoors.
Watch a favorite movie of their choosing
Check ahead with your loved one to see if there’s a favorite movie they’d like to watch – or surprise them with one you know they’ll enjoy.
If your loved one’s assisted living community has TVs and DVD players, see if you can borrow or use one for an afternoon. If not, bring along a
laptop with a DVD drive or a streaming service account. Make it a special occasion with popcorn or their favorite movie theater snack, as long as it doesn’t interfere with any dietary restrictions.
Look through photos together
Nearly everyone loves looking at photos and reminiscing about the memories they’ve captured. Bring along a photo album from years ago. Alternatively, have a selection of current photos – of things like vacation spots, pets, or kids – on a tablet that they can easily hold and look at.
Ask them if there are any photos they enjoy or would like to have for themselves. On a subsequent visit, you can return with prints of their favorites in frames or a small album for them to keep.
Play a game or do a puzzle
A dreary day outdoors calls for a fun activity indoors. Bring along a selection of games your loved one might enjoy, whether it’s a deck of cards, a set of checkers or chess, dominoes, or a board game.
Doing a puzzle is also a great choice for an assisted living visit. Pick out a puzzle that your loved one will enjoy, and look for larger pieces and bright colors so it’s easy for them to see. If they have an area of their room where the puzzle can be kept, you can always work on it little by little over multiple visits.
Bring along the kids
Many seniors love visiting with children – especially their grandchildren!
Plan a visit with your child during a time they will be awake and alert. Give them a few instructions on what to expect before you arrive so they aren’t completely unprepared, and lay out a few ground rules – no yelling or running in the halls, for example.
Your child might enjoy sharing their toys, hobbies, or interests with their loved one, so don’t be afraid to bring along a few items that will get the conversation going.
Outdoor Activities for Seniors
If your loved one’s health permits, there are plenty of things you can do to spend the day with them outside of the assisted living community. Read on for four ideas.
Take a walk
Getting out and enjoying the fresh air is a great way for seniors – and you – to spend the day. If their assisted living community has walking paths and they’re in good enough shape to use them, go for a stroll. You can also find a nearby park or nature preserve to visit. Just look for flat, paved paths.
If your loved one uses a wheelchair, push them along a path with a scenic view so they can still get the benefits of some time spent outside.
Parks and outdoor areas your loved one might like in Columbus include the Park of Roses or the Scioto Audubon Metro Park (great for spotting birds and waterfowl).
Enjoy a treat
What’s your senior loved one’s favorite snack or drink? Take them on an outing to enjoy something fun, as long as they don’t have any dietary restrictions.
If your loved one would feel uncomfortable being in a crowd or having to walk from the car to the store, you can always go through a drive-through or pick something up to bring back to their assisted living community.
Attend a show
Find tickets for a play or musical performance that would appeal to your senior loved one. Columbus has a number of venues for big names scattered all over the city.
Visit a friend
Plan ahead and see if there’s a family member or friend who would be interested in having your loved one over. When the day arrives, pick your loved one up at the assisted living community and bring them to the chosen home for a fun visit.
Once there, you can always try any of the activities mentioned above, like playing a game or looking at photos.
More Tips for an Assisted Living Home Visit
Many seniors face loneliness and a lack of human interaction. Even in an assisted living community where they’re surrounded by neighbors, it’s still good for residents to spend time with their friends and family.
Although you might face your own feelings of discomfort when you visit the assisted living community, try to simply focus on spending time with your loved one. You’re there to see them and help them feel loved.
Below are more guidelines to help make your visit a success, according to Sixty and Me:
- Be respectful of visiting hours, if they exist.
- Plan your visit at a time when your loved one is usually free. Remember, they may have their own schedule for mealtimes, naps and other activities.
- Don’t worry about completing a planned activity or sticking to a script. Go with the flow if your loved one isn’t feeling well or doesn’t want to do what you’ve planned.
- Be present during the visit. Don’t check your phone or disengage from the conversation – show your loved one that you care for and appreciate them as they are.
- Visit regularly, but strive for quality over quantity. Make sure your loved one knows they’re loved and that you want to see them frequently.
Don’t be afraid to touch during the visit. Even if your loved one isn’t much of a hugger, a pat on the back or resting your hand on their shoulder for a moment lets them experience much-needed physical contact. Just tailor it to their personality and preferences.
Learn More About Assisted Living Options
Have questions about how assisted living works? We can help. Our helpful guide to assisted living at The MacIntosh Company will show you what life in an assisted living community is like and what we can offer that other communities don’t. Read more >>