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Visiting someone

Friends, neighbours and extended family are important sources of support for the family. But uncertainty about what to expect may prevent some people from visiting a person with dementia. Here are some helpful suggestions for visitors.

  • Arrange a convenient time for the visit Choose a time that is best for the person with dementia. Shorten the visit if he shows signs of fatigue.
  • Communication is the key Use gestures as well as words. Pace the conversation, allowing time for her to respond.
  • Introduce yourself If he seems confused, identify yourself and say why you are there. “It’s Jane. I came to visit you today.”
  • Remember and laugh together Recall humorous experiences you both shared. “I remember when we both…” Take pleasure in each moment.
  • Be prepared to listen People with the disease may want to share their feelings. Remain open and sympathetic.
  • Establish connection through a common interest Continue your favourite activity together. Listen to music. Take a walk. Concentrate on the person’s talents and abilities.
  • Show that you care We all communicate through emotion, expression and touch. Holding a hand, or smiling when you talk can convey more than words.
  • Create a visitor guest book It can become difficult for a person with dementia to remember all the comings and goings in her day. By creating a visitor guest book, you can help her to remember who has come to visit and how they spent their time together.