It’s important to have granchildren and great-grandchildren visit their loved ones in an assisted living facility. Although it can be challenging at times, having children around can brighten the days of not only their own relatives, but of everyone at the facility. A visit from grandkids can completely alter the mood of their struggling grandparents or great-grandparents.
How To Prepare
Explain to children what they will be encountering before getting to the facility. Describe to them what the visit will be like to avoid surprises. Let them know that their loved ones are excited to see them, but if their grandparents or great-grandparents may be feeling unwell, make sure they know that too. As long as they arrive with appropriate expectations, the visit will go very smoothly. Let them know how much their loved ones value and adore them, and the children will feel good about their commitment to visiting an assisted living facility.
What to Do During Your Visit
Make sure you engage in some activities that will include both the grandchildren and grandparents or great-grandparents. Creating artworks for display in the facility is a great way to both engage the kids but will also make a lasting memory of the visit. Playing a simple card game or board game and singing songs and nursery rhymes are all wonderful pastimes because everyone can participate and feel included. Bring photographs to share with your elderly relatives, or even a home video of a birthday celebration, school play, or recital that the grandparent or great-grandparent may not have been able to attend. Sharing the grandchildren’s lives with their loved ones will make for a stronger bond between them, and they will both appreciate the love they share.
The Benefits of Visiting
It is beneficial for both grandchild and grandparent to have these regular visits. Such visits are not only a terrific way for an elderly grandparent to boost their mood, feel connected to the world outside the assisted living facility, and maintain a relationship with their family. Grandchildren will have wonderful lifelong memories of their relatives, and will feel loved and appreciated. Seeing a grandparent’s excitement in anticipation of a visit always helps the children know how special they are.
How to Strengthen the Relationship
Perhaps you can also help maintain the relationship between grandparents or great-grandparents and grandchildren by periodically having a visit over video chat systems like Skype. Though the grandparent may not have their own computer at their assisted living facility, see if the residence has a shared computer that they may use. Staff members can often help facilitate such webcam visits. Especially useful for out-of-town relatives, this can brighten the day of an elderly family member without needing to travel long distances for visits.
The Issue of Memory
Send letters and photographs in between visits to maintain correspondence and help the relationship remain constant even if visiting is hard. Talk about elderly relatives often so that very young children hear their names mentioned and can remember details about them. Both the elderly and young children can have a hard time with memory in between visits. Seeing pictures is a helpful way for both grandparents and grandchildren to have warm and lasting memories, and to make sure the relationship is maintained between visits, particularly if visits cannot happen regularly.
Family relationships are a wonderful thing. Even though visiting an assisted living facility may be a challenge, it’s important to value the visits and the underlying relationship between children and their elderly family members. Memories of such visits will stay with all involved relatives for a lifetime.