Spending time with a friend or family member in a rest home can provide wonderful opportunities for bonding, connection, and learning from one another. But at times you may feel awkward or uncomfortable about visiting because you don’t know what to do or say.
Having some ideas in mind and bringing activities with you can make visiting fun and positive. Depending on their physical and mental capability, there are many ways to enjoy each other’s company. Here’s our top five ideas to try on your next visit:
1. Go for a walk or drive
Many rest homes have gardens you can enjoy a walk around, or a park close by you could walk or drive to. They may have a favourite café or beach they haven’t been to for a while you could visit.
2. Enjoy their favourite food
Some rest home residents may not be able to cook anymore but still want to enjoy a favourite meal or treat. Bring in some favourite foods to share, or leave something for them to enjoy after your visit.
3. Share an activity
Spend time planning a few activities to do while there. Find an activity you both enjoy, such a chess, cards or puzzles. Read a favourite book aloud or read the newspaper and talk about current events. Before you leave, chat about what they would like to do next time you visit.
4. Listen to music
Play them some of their favourite music or listen to seasonal music such as christmas carols. Turn on the radio, download some iTunes or listen to Spotify – or if you can’t find the music they enjoy via new technology, hunt down an old CD or record, as long as you can find something to play it on!
5. Watch a favourite movie or TV show
Many people enjoy company while watching a movie or TV. This is a great option if your friend finds it hard to communicate or is confined to their bed. They might have an old favourite they’d like to watch again, or you could introduce them to your favourite.