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Can You Visit a Dementia Patient Too Much?

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A woman and her senior mother chatting while enjoying a cup of hot beverage.

When you or a loved one begins to show signs of dementia, sometimes moving to a memory care community is the best thing for you and your family. And though it may be a bit nerve-wracking changing environments, many find that they are better for using the assistance of memory care.

After a little adjustment period, a dementia patient can come to flourish and enjoy senior living. But can you visit a dementia patient too much? Yes, if your visits hinder their ability to settle into their memory care community or if the visits cause you or them to become overwhelmed. 

The Prevalence of Dementia

Dementia is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, there are currently over 55 million people living with dementia, with the majority of cases occurring in low-and middle-income countries.

Each year, an additional 10 million people are diagnosed with this condition, and in the US alone, there are 5.8 million people living with dementia. 

Dementia is a term for several diseases that impact the brain, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common form of dementia.

Can You Visit a Dementia Patient Too Much?

When visiting a person with dementia, it’s important to prioritize regular and consistent visits over frequency. You don’t need to overwhelm yourself by visiting too often. 

It’s recommended to aim for 3 brief visits of 20–30 minutes per week instead of one longer 1-hour visit.

If you can only manage once or twice a month, that’s okay. Remember to prioritize your own self-care and take comfort in the fact that your loved one is being cared for by qualified memory care professionals. 

Does It Matter If I Visit If They Can’t Remember Me?

Research has shown that the mood of the dementia patient improved with visits, but within 30 minutes, their mood returned to its previous state. However, the same study found that with education on how to communicate with each other, both the dementia patient and caregiver’s quality of visits improved. 

So, yes, even if your loved one struggles with their memory, they are still the person you care for and love.

Tips & Guidelines for Visiting Your Loved One

In order to make the most of your visits,  it’s essential to acknowledge their emotional, social, and spiritual needs. It’s important to remember that their personality and character traits are more than just their memory or abilities. 

Keep Visits Simple

When visiting, keep things simple and avoid overwhelming them with too many tasks or people. Instead, focus on creating special moments by tapping into their remaining strengths. 

Spend Time in Quiet & Calm Spaces

Look for a quiet and comfortable place to spend time together, free from distractions and excess noise. Many facilities have designated areas for this purpose. 

Remain Flexible in Your Expectations

It’s important to be flexible in your activities and adjust your expectations for each visit. What worked well once may not be the same the next time. Try not to get frustrated at this—move on to another conversation topic or activity to bypass any issues.

Additionally, keep in mind that your loved one may respond differently than they used to, which is part of the disease process and not a reflection of anything you did or said. 

If they become upset or angry, don’t take it personally. It may indicate an unmet need that you can assist with. Keep a level voice, neutral body language, and a positive attitude. 

Take Advantage of Available Resources

If you want to make the most of your time, explore the available resources at the facility. Staff are more than willing to aid you or provide advice to improve the visit. 

Above all, remember the quality of time spent with your loved one is more important than the quantity.

Activities You Can Do with Your Loved One with Dementia

A man holding the hands of his senior dad while walking in a park on a sunny day.

When spending time with a loved one who has dementia, it’s important to engage in activities that are both enjoyable and stimulating.

Some great options include simple games like card or board games, taking a walk outside, or doing a puzzle together. 

You can also try reminiscing about past experiences, looking at old photos, or listening to music. Do not say, “Do you remember?” as they may get frustrated if they cannot. Instead, say, “Tell me about this or that,” which is a less direct request they may answer easier. 

Whatever activity you choose, remain patient and allow your loved one to take their time and enjoy the moment. 

Remember, the most important thing is to spend quality time together and create happy memories.

Compassionate Care for Dementia Patients

At Fox Trail Memory Care in Ramsey, NJ, we’re here to guide your family through the memory care journey. While it may feel challenging at times, remember that you’re not alone—we’re here to help.

Request a visit to our memory care community and discover how we can support your loved one with dementia today. 

Ryan Donahue

Written by Ryan Donahue, Regional Vice President

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