For most residents that live at The Maplewood the most important aspect of their lives is the family relationship. When residents are alert and oriented, they are able to share their thoughts and feelings with both family members and staff about the importance of their family, their memories and how they impact their lives. For those residents that have difficulty or are unable to share verbally about their relationships with their family members, it’s important to remember that family members still have a great impact on their lives.

For these reasons, many family members continue to visit their loved ones throughout their stay at The Maplewood. However, visiting can be a challenging and emotional experience for many reasons, especially as the comfort of reciprocal communication can be limited. It is these times when family members may begin to visit less frequently. But for the resident, anytime a family member can visit – no matter how often or how long – has an impact. Visits provide a connection for the resident (even if they are unable to express it) and provide opportunities for the family member to stay connected to the staff.

Here are some suggestions when visiting:

  • Talk in a quiet place and share news about family, friends, neighbors and current events.
  • Try to be at eye level and speak slowly and clearly.
  • Encourage reminiscing. Bring photos or objects to share.
  • Stimulate conversation about past achievements.
  • Validate any feelings of distress or concern and share them with the nursing staff or social worker.
  • Avoid using visits to give advice or argue with your loved one.
  • Sometimes the best visit is being together and just holding hands, providing touch.
  • Play your loved one’s favorite music or movie.
  • Get to know other residents, staff and families to make your visits more pleasurable.

Lynn Pierce
Director of Social Services