Visits to nursing homes are, essentially, what the participants make of them. While they can be hum-drum and routine, they can also be very special and exciting. If there's someone you care about settled into a nursing home, make sure you make the most of each visit, for the benefit of both of you, and if you're lucky, even other residents.

Find Different Things To Do On Your Visits

While the pleasure of your company alone may mean the world to the person you're visiting, you may want to mix things up a bit, for the sake of both of you. Particularly if you keep the details of your visit a surprise, doing things a little differently each time you visit makes everything more exciting:

  • Bring along a surprise visitor, especially children of the family or friends who haven't been seen in a while.
  • Set up a movie right in their room (using a portable DVD player, if needed).
  • Start a book club, where you drop off a few copies around the nursing home, then discuss the literature on your next visit.
  • Tote a musical instrument along, even if you don't know how to play it; chances are good someone will know or everyone will have fun trying.
  • Pack a picnic basket full of baked goodies or takeout from a favorite local eatery (so long as the food doesn't violate any dietary restrictions).

If you have a friendly dog, why not let them hop in the backseat on your way to the nursing home, so everyone there can benefit from the animal contact? Dogs are great ice-breakers, so they'll help you get to know other residents in the establishment, too, which could help you make introductions that strike up friendships. Anything you can think of to make visits a little different and a little special will make each one memorable and healthy for all.

Bring Useful And Pleasant Things You Can Leave Behind

Most especially if the person you care about living in a nursing home isn't able to get out and about on their own, always ask them if there's anything they need that you can pick up for them on your way over. Even little things the facility may not keep on hand can be a big help, but other, more personalized and thoughtful items will do even more to show you care and help out in day-to-day living:

  • Personal care and confidence items, like cosmetics, colognes, brushes, mirrors, etc.
  • Books with print that's easy to read.
  • Stationery supplies that can be used for contacting old friends or distant relatives.
  • Socks, sweaters, pajamas, and underwear, if needed.
  • Puzzle games for one player and others for groups of players.

When you turn to leave, you could be leaving a big void behind, so anything you leave that keeps them busy, brings people together, or reminds them of you will make saying goodbye easier. Although you're sure to return, the time between visits may seem painfully lengthy and languid, making the goodies you bring more important than you may realize.

You make a huge difference in the lives of other people because you have a special way of doing things and showing how you care. Making each visit to a friend or relative in a nursing home a little different makes it more enjoyable for everyone, which is, for you, mission accomplished.

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