logo AyiConnect Staff, Jan 16, 2024
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How Often to Visit A Parent in A Nursing Home?

Visiting a parent who is living in a nursing home can be an emotional and challenging experience. As an adult child, you may grapple with feelings of guilt, sadness, and uncertainty about how often you should visit.

Finding the right balance between your own life and responsibilities while still being present for your parent requires thoughtfulness and compassion. In this guide, we will explore factors to consider when deciding how frequently to visit a parent in a nursing home.

Benefits of Visiting Frequently in Nursing Home

Visiting your parent in a nursing home frequently has many potential benefits:

Providing Companionship

One of the most significant reasons to visit often is to provide companionship. Loneliness, assisted living, and isolation are common issues for seniors in care facilities. Frequent visits from loved ones can brighten their day and remind them that they are not forgotten. Your presence demonstrates your ongoing love and commitment.

Monitoring Well-Being

When you visit regularly, you can better monitor your parent's physical health, emotional state, and care. Frequent visits allow you to get a better sense of how they are adjusting to nursing home life. You may notice changes that need to be addressed or be able to advocate for improved care.

Supporting Engagement

Your visits provide valuable mental stimulation and engagement for your loved one. Your conversations, activities, and accompaniment on outings give them something positive to look forward to. This engagement can have physical and emotional benefits by improving mood and motivation.

Fulfilling Family Role

Regardless of your parent's memory or orientation issues, visiting fulfills the human need for family connections. It reinforces your role as their son or daughter and demonstrates respect and honor for the parent-child relationship.

Challenges of Frequent Visits to Parents in Nursing Homes

Although frequent visits have many advantages, some challenges and drawbacks should also be considered:

Time Commitment

Frequent visits to your parent's nursing facility require an enormous time commitment. With busy schedules, careers, kids, and other obligations, finding the time to visit regularly can be difficult. A rigid visiting schedule could become burdensome.

Geographical Barriers

If a parent's nursing home is located far away, visiting regularly may not be feasible. Out-of-town family members have logistical obstacles like travel costs, getting time off work, childcare, and more. Even local families can get worn down by a lengthy commute for frequent visits.

Emotional Toll

Seeing a parent decline cognitively and physically in a nursing home setting often stirs up intense emotions like grief, helplessness, guilt, and distress. Coping with these feelings frequently can take an emotional toll. Some family members may need to limit visits to protect their mental health.

Parent's Condition

Some parents' conditions, like advanced dementia, limit their awareness of visits. If your parent no longer recognizes you, frequent visits may be disruptive to their routine. In these cases, occasional visits just to check in could work better.

Other Responsibilities

Most adult children have many responsibilities competing for their time, like jobs, spouses, raising kids, caring for other family members, or managing their parents' affairs. Juggling everything may mean limiting nursing home visits.

Key Factors to Consider

When deciding how often to visit your mom or dad in a nursing home, consider these key factors:

Your Parent's Needs

Think about your parent's physical and emotional needs. Are they lonely or bored? Do they need monitoring for adequate care? Frequent visits can be vital for some parents but less critical for others who are more content.

Type of Facility

The quality of care and activities at some nursing homes means less need for family visits to fill your parent's time. Check on the facility's staffing, programs, and peer support to gauge how well they engage residents.

Sibling Involvement

Coordinate with siblings to share the visiting responsibilities. Having siblings alternate or visit together provides parent engagement while lessening the burden on each individual.

Your Personal Life

Evaluate your schedule, responsibilities, and health. Be realistic about what visiting frequency works for you without becoming overwhelmed or resentful. Don't overcommit.

Distance to Facility

If the nursing home is nearby, dropping in often is easier. For long-distance caregivers, schedule visits efficiently around other travel to avoid repeated trips. Consider longer, less frequent visits.

Helpful Tips

Regardless of how often you can get to the nursing home, here are some tips that can enhance your visits:

  • Involve your parent's grandchildren. Intergenerational bonds energize both young and old.
  • Bring along family photos or scrapbooks to provide mental stimulation.
  • Celebrate holidays and birthdays with gifts, balloons, flowers, and favorite foods.
  • Bring pets for animal therapy visits when allowed.
  • Take your parent outdoors to enjoy fresh air and a change of scenery.
  • Ask staff for advice about your parent's favorite activities you can do together.
  • Introduce yourself to other residents you could visit to brighten their days, too.
  • Use technology like video chats to stay connected between in-person visits.
  • Send encouraging cards and notes to let your parent know you are thinking of them.

How to Find the Right Caregivers for Your Parents?

Finding the right caregivers for your aging parents is an important decision. Here are some tips for choosing caregivers wisely:

  • Ask your parents what qualities they prefer in a caregiver. Factor in their personality, gender, age, interests, etc. They'll interact more comfortably with someone they connect with.
  • Look into local caregiving agencies versus independent caregivers. Agencies background check and manage their employees, but independent caregivers are often more affordable. Also, look for online sources like AyiConnect for better caregiver options.
  • Conduct interviews, check references, and look into any complaints filed with licensing boards. Ensure they have proper credentials.
  • Consider practical factors like the caregiver's schedule flexibility, transportation, and experience with your parents' specific medical needs.
  • Observe caregiving candidates interacting with your parents. Do they communicate effectively and treat your parents with patience and kindness?
  • Trust your instincts. Make sure you feel comfortable leaving your parents in a caregiver's care. Never ignore red flags.
  • Check in regularly after hiring to ensure your parents are satisfied and the caregivers remain reliable. Provide oversight.

Conclusion

Ultimately, no ideal visiting frequency fits every family. Strive to find the right balance between being present and meeting your own needs. While frequent visits are preferred, even short or occasional visits demonstrate love. Allow yourself grace if you cannot live up to an unrealistic visiting schedule.

Focus on quality over quantity during the time you can spend. Your companionship and support will be valued by your parent regardless of how often you visit their nursing home.


AyiConnect is a platform to connect families with helpers who have a language specialty in addition to care. You can post a free job to engage with them through self-service or use concierge service. For self-service, you can even join in the discussion. The concierge service can provide another option to ensure successful matches for busy families who don't have time to search or need language assistance. Schedule a free consultation here for our concierge service, or check us out at ayiconnection.com