Encouraging Visitors in Senior Living Communities

visitcaregiverOne question we are frequently asked by families of new residents is how to encourage old friends and extended family to visit their loved one in their new senior living home. For a variety of reasons, people are sometimes hesitant to visit the first time.

Here are a few tips we usually share to help increase the number of visitors our newer residents have:

1. Throw a Party!

It may be the easiest way to introduce everyone to your loved one’s new community. A simple open house with light refreshments can be a nice way to do it. Most senior living communities will be happy to help with arrangements, especially if you need a little extra space to accommodate your expected crowd.

2. Invite Loved Ones for Dinner.

With proper notice, most senior living communities are happy to welcome guests for lunch or dinner. Talk with your loved one’s new dining services team to find out what their requirements are and then begin extending invitations.

3. Encourage Volunteerism.

In general, older adults enjoy spending time with younger generations, and teens have much to learn from the greatest generation. Check with the senior living community to see what age requirements they might have and what their needs for volunteers might be. If a grandson is particularly good at navigating the web, maybe he can volunteer to teach residents how to set up and use email or Skype. Perhaps a niece plays the piano and would come once a month to perform for residents? Think about how has talent that can be shared and encourage it.

4. Join the Fun.

Review the life enrichment calendar each month and see if there are opportunities for your loved one to invite old friends for a program. For example, if your loved one always enjoyed gardening and has friends from her old garden club, invite them to come to a bird-watching discussion or for a tour of the community’s gardens.

Above all, don’t be discouraged if it takes a while for old familiar faces to overcome their fears about visiting. That might give your loved one time to make new friends in their new home!