When you have a loved one in a nursing home, it can be very challenging to continue summer traditions like family vacations. But there are creative ways to enjoy time off together. If you live too far away to visit your loved one as often as you wish you could, a ‘staycation’ near the facility can provide quality time with family and a meaningful experience for everyone.
Time with family improves the well-being of residents in nursing homes, research shows. Relatives often help with grooming, cheering up the resident and engaging them in meaningful conversations. With the family together, it’s also a good time to reminisce. Studies also show these conversations help nursing home residents improve their satisfaction and overall psychological well-being. In some cases, you may be able to take the nursing home resident for an outing to a restaurant or other local destination.
Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the greater flexibility in everyone’s schedules. But if some relatives live too far away or are unable to visit, consider connecting them through technology. Many skilled nursing facility residents react very positively to seeing loved ones through Skype or Apple FaceTime on a tablet or smartphone.
Creating a ‘Vacation Feel’
A nursing home resident might have a favorite vacation spot, city or country that they always wanted to visit. Consider decorating his or her room with destination photos and other mementos. You might bring music to help the resident feel like they really are “on vacation.”
Always check with the facility administration first about what you can bring when you celebrate any occasion with your loved one. That’s the first tip in the article “How to Decorate a Nursing Home Room” – but there are also some ideas for personalizing a room that can help you get started.
Also consult the facility’s management for suggestions on what would work well for ‘staycation’ activities in their skilled nursing home, and make sure these activities are okay with your loved one’s physicians. Use your judgment – you probably know your loved one and what they’re capable of doing better than anyone else.
If there is a family pet that might add to the mix, ask the facility what rules apply to having the pet join you at some point.
Even people who are in a nursing home temporarily during the summer – for post-acute care, rehabilitation, physical therapy or other reasons – will appreciate all the time and effort you put into including them in the family traditions. Above all, remember to relax, have fun and enjoy the extra time with your loved ones.