It’s always a bit nerve-racking to explore a new place, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Visiting your loved one in their retirement community is a great way to foster your relationship, so don’t let any discomfort you have about visiting retirement communities prevent you from bringing a smile to your loved one’s face. Not only are the facility’s staff members usually thrilled to see a new face around, but the residents always enjoy meeting their friends’ family members and loved ones, especially children. Still nervous about visiting your loved one? Scroll down for some tips for visiting retirement communities.
Tips for Visiting Retirement Communities
1. Check the retirement facility’s visiting hours and rules. Most retirement facilities love when guests visit their residents, but that doesn’t mean you can stop by whenever you want. Check the facility’s website or give them a call to ask when visitors are welcome and if there are any special details you should be aware of as a visitor. For example, at Hearthside Senior Living Place, our residents and staff members are often quite busy in the mornings, so we recommend that guests arrive at 10:00 am or later. We also ask that you try to leave by 9:00 pm so that we can prepare for bedtime. If you’re coming outside of these hours, we would appreciate it if you could notify us ahead of time.
2. Consider coming at meal time or during an activity. Most facilities allow guests to dine with the residents for a modest price (and sometimes for free). If you’re nervous about visiting retirement communities, lunch or dinner is a great time to come because you’ll know just what to do and you’ll be able to meet your loved one’s friends. Letting the community know a few hours ahead of planning on eating with your loved one is appreciated. This allows our chefs to prepare for our guests. Similarly, try stopping by on bingo night or during your loved one’s sewing group so that you can chat while taking part in the facility’s social scene.
3. Bring your kids! A big misconception about visiting retirement communities is that children will not be welcome due to their rowdy, rambunctious nature. This is absolutely not the case. Residents love when children visit. Plus, your children can learn something about history by talking with residents. For example, if your child has a school project related to recent history, consider bringing them by the facility so that they can talk to the residents and gain a new perspective on the things they’ve learned about in school.
4. Take your loved one out. Although most seniors enjoy showing their families around their new community, they also yearn to get out and explore the city. If your loved one expresses a desire to visit a favorite restaurant or go see a new movie, why not split your day between the retirement community and a restaurant or theatre?
5. Experience a “day in the life” of your loved one. Sometimes people are afraid of visiting retirement communities because they don’t quite understand the way they work. If this sounds like you, embrace the experience by asking a lot of questions and going through the day with your loved one: mealtimes, activities, exercise, etc. You’ll learn a lot, and you’ll also feel much more comfortable the next time you visit.
6. Encourage other family members to visit. After you visit your loved one, encourage the rest of your family to do the same! Your family member and the other residents will cherish the attention.
In addition, be sure to view our Tips for Visiting the Elderly.
If you’re on the hunt for a retirement community, check out Hearthside Senior Living Place. We have eight locations spread across Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Click here to schedule a free tour and ask any other questions you have about visiting retirement communities.