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Making the Most of Visiting Older Loved Ones

Make it a Great Visit! Tips for Planning Quality Time with Older Loved Ones

Life is busy but it is worthwhile to slow down to spend quality time with older adult family members. Family visits promote social connection, happiness and, yes, even better health outcomes for aging loved ones. With a little planning, you can enjoy each other’s company while making the most of your time together.

Pick A Good Day and Time

Be aware of loved ones’ schedules when planning a visit. Know when they like to wake up, eat their meals and go to bed. If they reside in a senior living community, check the programming calendar to make sure you aren’t stopping by when they are engaged in a fun activity or on an outing. As a courtesy, give them a heads up before you visit.

Be Present During the Visit

Greet your loved one with a smile and hug and give him your full attention. Set aside your phone and clear your mind of your to-do list. Sit in a comfortable spot close together for easy conversation. This will make the visit feel special and not rushed.

Treats are Welcome

Everyone loves a treat! Whether it is a coffee cake from a beloved bakery or a burger from a favorite restaurant, food is almost always welcome. Fresh flowers, a good book or new pajamas are some other gift ideas, but you know best what small token will make your loved one smile.

Bring the Kids

Even fidgety, loud and silly kids bring a welcome, youthful energy to older adults. Bring a game or deck of cards that the kids can play with grandpa and grandma. Share class photos and pictures from the kids’ sports and activities to spark conversation.

Share an Activity

Is there a hands-on activity that you enjoy doing together? Put together a photo album, build a puzzle, bake cookies, or knit a blanket. Pack a bag with whatever items are needed to do what makes you both happy. The time will fly by while you make memories together!

No Pressure

If you’re loved one has memory loss, visits can be a bit more challenging. Try not to ask too many specific questions about people’s names and past events, but instead, keep the conversation lighter and more general and follow your loved one’s lead. You can also connect in other ways such as listening to music together or going for a walk.

Know When to Say Goodbye

The quality of the visit is more important than the quantity. Your older loved one’s attention span may wane after a while, or they may simply need a rest from the conversation and stimulation. Tell them how much you enjoyed the time you shared together, let them know that you’ll be back soon and hug them goodbye.

Family and friend visits are always welcomed and encouraged at Pathway to Living’s assisted living and memory support communities. Pathway team members enjoy getting to know residents’ family members and appreciate the benefits residents experience from spending quality time with loved ones.

For more information about Pathway to Living or to find a community near you, visit our website at