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The holidays are upon us and this time of the year brings lots of family and friends wishing to visit their loved ones who reside in Memory Support at the Three Palms Health Center at East Ridge.

“Our residents look forward to visits from loved ones,” explains Natalie Delgado, Memory Support Supervisor  at Three Palms Health Center.  “We want every visit to be filled with smiles and heart-warming moments, so we’re happy to pass on a few tips on how to make sure a visit is enjoyed, especially by our memory support residents.”

  • Children and pets are welcome but it’s best to limit the number of visitors, as relating to fewer people will be less confusing for someone who may be overwhelmed by a larger crowd.
  • Visitors should be prepared to adjust to their resident’s level of awareness. It may be helpful to introduce yourself to them, even if you’re family and feel they should know you.
  • Your loved one’s ease of conversation may not be as casual as it was in the past. Concentrate on what the resident can remember, instead of being disappointed with what they cannot.  Enter their reality—go with the flow even if they remember things inaccurately or they just don’t make sense. Remain in the moment and refer to concrete things they can relate to now.
  • In conversations, give your loved one plenty of time to answer and be okay with sitting together in silence for a while. Avoid insisting they “remember” things.
  • A visit can be enhanced by bringing along some family pictures of favorite items like cookies, decorations or collectables that will help your loved one recall specific memories. Talk about fun times shared with family and friends, especially things that recall this special time of the year.
  • Music may be helpful filler for awkward moments as it occupies a deeper place in our memories and often stays with us more readily than people and events.
  • Maintain eye contact and don’t forget the power of physical contact. A touch may convey a sense of connection that would be difficult to achieve with words.  When other things become difficult, touch is a powerful communicator.
  • Be careful not to come across as irritated if the resident has difficulty remembering specifics. Your visit is meant to bring them comfort and cheer. Calm their frustration by remaining calm yourself.  Don’t argue or react to every mistake your loved one makes.  Be thankful for the things they do remember.
  • Be ready to soothe them if they get upset. If you keep your calm, it will probably be brief.  Sometimes going for a walk together can shift their focus and settle them down. Divert the conversation.  Three Palms is designed with a safe walking area they can enjoy and maybe talk about any holiday decorations you see along your walk.
  • Let go of any image you have of how your loved one used to be and accept them in these circumstances. Humor can be your best friend at these moments.  Go easy on yourself as well.  You haven’t been trained to handle these situations.
  • When it’s time to leave, our trained staff can help make this less awkward when they want to come with you.

Memory support at Three Palms Health Center schedules activities and events that are designed to fill residents with holiday cheer.

For those who may not be able to visit, we offer a couple of suggestions.  Families can arrange for a special gift to be delivered to a resident especially earmarked for the holidays.  There is also equipment available through our innovative It’s Never2Late technology for conducting a virtual visit using Skype.

To learn more about the Three Palms Health Center and its services and accommodations for Memory Support, please call 305-256-3564 and arrange a personal visit.