Happy National Skilled Nursing Care Week!

Starting with Mother’s Day, we’ve kicked off our celebration of National Skilled Nursing Care Week here at Regency Nursing. The week-long observance, established by the American Health Care Association, provides an opportunity to recognize the role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities.

American Health Care Association NSNCW logo

This year, the theme for NSNCW is “Celebrating Life’s Stories.” According to AHCA’s announcement, the theme pays tribute to life’s most significant events, relationships and experiences that form the backdrop of each of our unique perspectives. Our residents, families, and staff are encouraged to share their stories with each other. Sharing these narratives will cultivate understanding, love, and acceptance in our community.

How to Celebrate #NSNCW

Do you have a parent, friend, grandparent, or other loved one in a skilled nursing facility? Visit them this week and acknowledge their care providers. Listen to your loved one’s stories, to the staff members, to the other residents. And share your own stories. Your memories and perspective are unique and will contribute to the wonderful sense of community at Regency Nursing.

We shared tips in a previous post about listening and recording your loved one’s stories. If you haven’t yet, try to record—or even just listen to—at least one story this week. Your elderly parent or grandparent won’t be around forever, so take advantage of this special week to hear more about them and their history.

If your loved one has dementia and can’t communicate, you can still have a meaningful visit. Read our post about maximizing your visit with a patient in advanced dementia here. Some of the advice we offered in that post included a suggestion to touch the patient a lot—with hugs, massage, or petting—and to take a stroll in the sunshine.

And don’t forget, make sure to laugh. When you share stories, you build a bond—and that bond is strengthened with laughter. Keep your stories and memories lighthearted and upbeat as you celebrate National Skilled Nursing Care Week.



Maximize your Visit with Grandma


boy and girl hugging their grandparents

Loneliness is a real issue for residents in nursing homes. They are far from their families and everything familiar. Even though they are surrounded by people—residents and staff who sometimes become cherished friends—there is no replacement for family. Family and friends are important for residents’ emotional, and even physical, well-being.

But it’s hard to visit when Grandma is in later stages of dementia and can no longer communicate. You feel uncomfortable and not sure how to fill the silence. Does your presence even make a difference?

The answer is yes. Your loved one is still there underneath the dementia or other illness, and family visits help her connect to the person she used to be. Regular visits from family and friends are essential in keeping that connection alive.

Here are five tips to help you pay a meaningful visit to your loved one:

1. Come at a good time

Schedule and consistency is very important for seniors, especially seniors with dementia. Make sure to come at a time when your visit will not interfere with your loved one’s schedule. The afternoon is usually the best time to visit. In the morning, the staff is busy getting the residents dressed and ready for the day. Your relative may feel uncomfortable if you’re present while they are being attended to. If you’re not sure when the best time to visit is, call ahead to find out. The nurses can also tell you when your loved one is at his or her best.

2. Bring family photos or the local newspaper

Bring along snapshots of people and places in their lives to help residents feel more connected. You can bring family photos to show off, and update your relative on the lives of loved ones. You may want to compile a photo album or scrapbook with both old and new photographs. Your relative can flip through the snapshots when you’re not there, and nurture the connection to his past life. Photos from when he was young are especially helpful, since dementia patients often remember their youth much better than their adult life. You can even personalize her room with family photos, favorite wall art, decorative pillows, and knikknacks that are meaningful to her.

You can also bring the local newspaper from their community and read sections they may be interested in. If Dad was an avid sports fan, you can read the sports news and scores for his favorite teams. Even if your loved one can’t respond, just hearing about topics they used to enjoy may bring them comfort.

3. Go for a stroll

If your relative is up to it, take them on a walk around the facility. If the weather is nice, you can take them outside. Our gardens and patios at the different Regency facilities are stunning year-round, and residents and their guests enjoy sitting outside and imbibing the calming effects of our lovely campuses.

4. Bring children along

Don’t be scared to bring children to the facility. Children are natural icebreakers, and their lack of inhibition helps with awkward moments. Bring along something for them to do, such as a picture book or small project. New readers can practice their reading skills with Grandma, or tell about new things they’ve learned.

5. Touch a lot

Affectionate touch is a basic human need. Most of the touch your loved one is getting, while gentle, is for care and hygiene only. Give them a lot of hugs during your visit. Try massaging his hand gently or giving her a back rub.

Bonus Tip: Act natural

Be yourself, that’s who your relative wants to see. It may be hard to see your loved one’s mental and physical abilities deteriorate, but make sure to act real. Speak slowly and clearly if their hearing is impaired, but don’t patronize them or speak to them like a child. Treat them naturally, with the respect and dignity they deserve!

Visiting Someone in a Nursing Home – Information

Visiting Someone in a Nursing Facility
Guidelines for making your time together more effective and enjoyableADVANTAGE_NURSING_HOME_VISIT_S1228

For residents of long-term care facilities, visits from family and friends are more than just appreciated, they are important for their emotional well-being. In addition to providing an opportunity to stay in touch with loved ones, relive memories, share experiences, and enjoy quality time together, personal visits help reassure them that they remain an important part of your life.

Planning Your Visit
When planning to visit someone in a nursing facility, it is always best to let them know you are coming. Although spontaneous visits are better than no visits at all, keep in mind that most people would prefer knowing ahead of time when to expect a visitor. That way they can anticipate your arrival, be rested and ready, and not have to adjust previously scheduled activities or therapies to accommodate the visit.

Remember, too, that if you are planning to visit during meal times, you should notify the staff in advance so they can make arrangements for you
to dine with the resident.

On the day of your visit, take a few moments to think about your goals for the visit and how to make it a positive experience for both you and the person you are visiting.

What are the person’s needs and interests? What would he or she most enjoy during your visit…
• Reminiscing about the past

• Talking about current events

• Listening to music

• Being read to

• Sharing an activity or meal

• Looking at family photographs

• Being touched or hugged

• Playing a board game

Another benefit of planning ahead is that you can come prepared with a variety of items, such as books, photos, games, CDs or even a musical instrument.

If the facility allows young children or pets, these “small visitors” can often engage even the most withdrawn resident and bring a measure of joy that adult interaction cannot.

Often, a person’s interests, health condition, or mental status will change over time. If you have not visited in a while, you might also want to talk briefly with his or her nurse so you will know what to expect.

During Your Visit

No matter what you have planned, or how little time you have to spend, it is important that you stay focused on the person you are visiting.

Chances are your visit is just one stop in a busy day, so it is easy to be distracted… to think about where you were last, what you will be doing next, or just how hectic your daily routine is. Try to remember that your words and body language can signal even the most unresponsive senior that your attention is elsewhere. Staying attentive during your visit demonstrates that you value your time together.

With this in mind, instead of rushing to visit on your lunch hour, or on your way home from work, set aside a specific day and time, and resolve to spend
it with your loved one at a calm and caring pace.

Simple Gifts
From time to time and on special occasions, a gift will be appreciated and can also serve as a pleasant reminder of your visit after you leave. However, since space is usually limited in a long-term care facility, a good rule of thumb is to keep your gifts small, simple and personal. Here are a few suggestions:

• A card you or another family member make yourself

• Flowers or a plant

• A book or magazine subscription

• Stationery and stamps

• Personal care items, such as soap or body lotion

• Non-perishable food items (check with the staff first)

Ending Your Visit
Ending a visit is sometimes difficult, especially if you and the person you are visiting do not see each other very often. Here are a few simple techniques to help make parting easier: