There are many things – from nutrition to medication – that we do at Savanna House to improve the lives of our residents. But there’s one thing the family and friends of residents can do to have a lasting impact on their health and happiness: Come for a visit.
Even in an already caring, exciting environment like ours, residents can get a boost from visitors. Studies have shown visiting residents in assisted living facilities can help in a variety of ways.
Visiting parents and seniors can serve as a reminder that they’re loved. Even if you don’t stay long, the visit will be time well spent and it will leave a lasting impression. Stopping in regularly will give you a chance to check on how they’re doing physically and mentally. We also hope you’ll get to know our staff and see how much they care for the resident you care so much about.
Bring back memories – and create new ones
As seniors age, it’s good for them to see familiar friends and family. Stopping by to say hello can put smiles on their faces. It can be beneficial to flip through old photo books or listen to music from their era. Telling old stories and recounting memories can help preserve your family’s history, brighten the present and provide optimism about the future. We’ve seen visits from family decrease stress and increase self-esteem.
Bring the grandkids
Social interaction can be connected to brain health, according to a 2016 report by AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health Initiative.
“While individuals vary in the degree to which they seek out social connections, humans share a fundamental need to interact with other people,” the report states. “Experiencing relationships and enjoyable contacts with others and sharing joint activities usually contributes to people’s feelings of well-being. From a brain health perspective, research suggests that older people who are more socially engaged and have larger social networks tend to have a higher level of cognitive function.”
The report makes several recommendations for maintaining meaningful social engagement, including the following: “Maintain social connections with people of different ages, including younger people. Keep in touch with grandchildren or volunteer to help people at a local school or community center. Think about the skills you have and that you use routinely that might be valuable to pass on to others. Offer to help teach a younger person skills you may already have.”
It’s not just good for the residents. According to a 2018 study, children working with adults with dementia developed social and emotional competencies, such as empathy, patience and problem-solving.