Life does not slow down for anyone these days. With more and more everyday stresses and responsibilities, it is common for family members to feel a sense of relief when loved ones move to aged care centres. With trained professionals and doctors everywhere, it is nice and comforting knowing your loved one is in a safe environment.
Regardless, visiting senior loved ones is still important, and you should set aside time to make in-person visits to them.
Seniors can feel happier and even younger when they spend time with the people they love. Staying social is one of the most important ways they can improve their quality of life. That also helps mitigate pervasive issues such as loneliness and social isolation. There are also advantages for you and your family when you visit your senior loved ones. From creating new memories to ensuring their wellbeing, everyone can benefit from a visit to their ageing loved ones.
With so many pros just from visiting senior loved ones, we have compiled six most important reasons to spare some time and visit your ageing loved ones!
Ward off loneliness and keep socially connected
Senior loved ones in aged care centres might be prone to feeling alone at times, and get lost in the repetitiveness of their daily routine. It is common for seniors to become withdrawn, recluse and even depressed due to a lack of social activity. It is also proven that social isolation is often associated with cognitive decline, poor health and even increased rates of infection and mortality.
By visiting your senior loved ones, you help to break the monotony of their daily routine, it also helps them feel connected to the world around them. Your visits will positively impact their mood and contribute to their happiness.
Try to make visiting senior loved ones a monthly, or even weekly routine. Be sure to spend more quality time with them, listen to their worries and be doting. Your visits are a chance for your ageing loved ones to interact and socialise, which can boost their mood. They will be happy to have your company, which stimulates the release of feel-good endorphins. These endorphins can lower the stress levels of your senior loved ones, and prevent high blood pressure and depression caused by loneliness.
Allows you to assess their health
Visits to your elderly loved ones are opportunities for you to observe their health and wellbeing. Do they have health problems? Is their morale good? Are their cognitive and physical abilities still good?
Making physical visits allow you to take stock of your loved ones’ living conditions and ensure they are happy and healthy, which can help in preventing elder abuse. You can also gauge how well they are coping with living in an aged-care centre. Being able to take note of their complaints or problems they might have also allows you to address these concerns with the staff at the centre.
As someone close to your senior loved ones, you will undoubtedly also be able to pick up on cues from them if they are uncomfortable or unwell, which the staff at the centre might not be able to do. You can then document these cues to your loved ones doctor or nurse if you are concerned. The more aware you are of your loved ones health and wellbeing, the safer and healthier your loved ones will be.
Improves memory recall
When visiting senior loved ones, you can bring alone mementoes such as photos, books and tokens important to them. This can prompt nostalgia that reminds you and your loved ones of, especially happy or emotional memories. This can help improve their mood and encourage them to engage.
This is especially beneficial to those struggling with dementia or memory loss. Reminiscing can help improve their communication abilities, assuage symptoms of depression and agitation, provide relief from boredom and improve their feeling of self-worth and importance
If you have children, visiting the elderly grandparents can provide them with an insight into the family history and keep old traditions alive. This will help foster closer bonds between different generations as well.
Bringing along photo albums or created videos, or favourite music can bring back these happy times. Together with your loved ones, you can relive these sweet memories and have a meaningful conversation about their past experiences.
Create new memories
Visiting senior loved ones can be an opportunity for you and your family to create new positive memories for them. Recreating family dinners, game nights, or family traditions could mean a lot to your senior loved one. This can help bring back sentimental memories for ageing loved ones and refresh them.
If your elderly loved one has an interest or hobby they enjoy, you could try to pursue that interest together with them as well. Finding something mutually enjoyable is key, whether it be reading, gardening or even sewing.
In doing so, you are creating new opportunities to create new memories through shared experiences, which can be something very important for your elderly loved ones in their golden years. Also, by visiting regularly, you are giving your senior loved ones something to look forward to apart from their daily routine at the aged care centre.
Help foster intergenerational relationships
Seniors tend to guide and impart knowledge to their juniors. By visiting senior loved ones, you can facilitate the transaction of knowledge between your ageing loved ones and your children. These meetings can help young children understand and accept ageing, and learn about their history and heritage. This can also stimulate your aged loved ones and help them maintain an active mind and social life.
Maintaining and developing relationships with the younger generation can help seniors feel more fulfilled. By visiting senior loved ones more often, it can not only help in improving mental cognitivity, but also in imparting valuable knowledge to the next generation.
Shows you care
Most importantly, visiting senior loved ones communicates how much you love and care about them. It showcases that you will dedicate time and effort into coming down to the aged care centre, just to stay connected.
You may feel it is obvious that you love your family, but visiting them in person can reinforce that. Let them know you care about their wellbeing by spending time with them whenever you are free. In-person visits where you can be affectionate with your loved ones help to boost their mood and feel cared for as well.
Many seniors do not want to feel like a burden and often do not ask for frequent visits. However, it is important for them to have regular contact with their loved ones. Even a short visit before you head to work is appreciated as they will be able to feel your love, gratitude and care.
Visiting with your family can also bring everyone closer together. By having a close-knit family, your elderly loved ones will have a better support system and boost overall happiness. It will not always be smooth-sailing and perfect, but if your loved ones know they are cared for and loved, it will definitely help when things get tough.
Can’t visit in person?
Sometimes, it is impossible for us to make regular physical visits. This could be due to external commitments like overseas work assignments, falling ill or being too busy. That is understandable, and there are many alternative ways to keep in touch.
If your loved ones have a smartphone or a computer with a camera, you can video chat with them just to catch up. Over video call, you and your loved ones can even take part in an activity together, such as sewing or reading. This will still help your senior loved ones create beautiful memories and ease their loneliness.
You can also send letters or cards, emails, send photos, have a call or interact on social media.
However you choose to do it, staying in touch is important and the advantages are enormous. Your loved ones will be happier, more fulfilled, and live life to the fullest.
In a nutshell
Visiting senior loved ones in aged care centres is crucial to their wellbeing and health. No matter how busy you are, it is important to take out some time to stay connected with them through physical visits. Be sure to spend time with them and create beautiful memories. Remember your visit is a reminder of how much you love them, especially when they have entered this new phase of life.
About the author
Besides school and work, Venus spends her free time dancing (she has been a dancer for more than 10 years). She also enjoys spending time just chilling at home and hanging out with her friends.