Skip to content

9 Tips for Visiting Your Loved One in Memory Care During the Holiday Season

9 Tips for Visiting Your Loved One in Memory Care During the Holiday Season

A senior man getting a visit from his grandchildren at the Elkhorn memory care community
November 22, 2023

As the holiday season approaches, families often look forward to spending quality time with their loved ones. This is particularly true for those whose family members reside in a memory care community, such as our Elkhorn memory care community, Woodwinds at Symphony Pointe. Here, we provide a nurturing environment where those living with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia can thrive. Our residents, whether in private or companion rooms, enjoy the comfort and safety of a community designed with their needs in mind. 

If you’re planning to visit your loved one at Woodwinds this holiday season, here are nine tips to make your visit both memorable and joyful:

1. Plan Your Visit Thoughtfully

First and foremost, consider the best time of day for your loved one. People with memory loss often have better times of the day that work for them. Arrange your visit during these periods to ensure a positive experience for everyone. If you’re unsure when these periods of time might be, have a conversation with one of the helpful staff members at Symphony Pointe. Typically, mornings and early afternoons work best. However, each person can be different. 

2. Bring Familiar Items

Another great tip is to bring personal items that evoke memories and can be comforting. A family photo album or a favorite piece of music can be a great way to connect. These little tokens can go a long way in helping your loved one feel grounded in the moment. If you bring along gifts, just make sure that they aren’t overly stimulating.

3. Keep It Simple

When visiting a senior loved one, simplicity is key, especially for those living at memory care. It is best to avoid overstimulating environments and keep your plans straightforward and relaxed. If large crowds bother your loved one, try to limit the number of people coming in at once. It is best to pace out these interactions to avoid making things too stressful. 

4. Be Present in the Moment

Remember to focus on enjoying the present moment with your loved one. It can be tough for family members who want to reminisce on past holidays, especially when your senior loved one might not remember them. Instead, shift gears and prioritize the here and now. Shared activities like a gentle walk in our beautiful grounds at Woodwinds or enjoying a meal together can be very fulfilling. 

5. Join in Community Activities

Another thing to consider when visiting is if there are any special holiday celebrations or dinners happening at their memory care community. This can be an ideal time to visit due to the holiday ambiance and activities happening within the community. At Woodwinds in the Elkhorn memory care community, we often have holiday-themed activities. Participating together can create a sense of joy and belonging, as well as get everyone into the holiday spirit. 

6. Create New Traditions

Start new holiday traditions that are easier for your loved one to participate in, like decorating their room or enjoying a special meal together. Putting a wreath on the door to their apartment or hanging up a stocking in their room can truly brighten their spirit and get them excited for the holiday season. Get them involved in the process as well by asking them if there is a special theme they’d like to incorporate into their decor or what special holiday treats they would like to enjoy. 

As an added tip, don’t forget to take a lot of pictures and videos! These help document your visit and create memories that you and your family can look back on. 

A woman taking a photo of her senior parents during the holidays

7. Communicate Effectively

When a loved one has dementia, how they communicate can drastically change. For those in the later stages of the disease, verbal communication might be particularly limited. When having a conversation, use simple sentences and give your loved one time to process and respond. Gentle reminders of who you are can also be helpful, but don’t correct them if they are wrong and become agitated. 

If children are coming along for the visit, let them know about any anticipated behaviors ahead of time. Small children might not be able to totally grasp the situation of what is going on with their beloved grandparent, but a heads up to be mindful can help to mitigate any issues in advance. 

8. Be Flexible

Dementia behaviors can shift without much notice, so it is best to be flexible. Your loved one’s mood and abilities may vary, so be prepared to adapt your plans as needed. As difficult as this can be, don’t expect visits to be too long just in case something happens. Remember to be thankful for any time that you get to spend with one another, especially during the very busy holiday season. 

9. Take Care of Yourself

Last but not least, remember that visiting a loved one in memory care can be emotionally challenging. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings and seek support when needed. Talk to a helpful staff member at Symphony Pointe if you need any reassurance or have questions. There are also numerous other coping mechanisms, such as journaling and other creative outlets. You are not alone and it’s important to seek help whenever you need it.

Exceptional Elkhorn Memory Care

At Symphony Pointe, we are proud to offer Woodwinds, an Elkhorn memory care community that serves as a safe, vibrant, and beautiful home for those with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Our residents enjoy the choice between private and companion rooms, each featuring an en suite bathroom with a walk-in shower. Our team’s specialized training ensures the best care and an environment where residents can truly thrive.

If you are interested in learning more about our memory care community and services at Symphony Pointe, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to answer questions and even give a tour of our wonderful community. Let us be a part of your family’s journey, providing care and support every step of the way.