Visiting Loved One in Senior Living: What to Know and Expect

by | Oct 24, 2023 | Assisted Living

Visiting a loved one in senior living can be both a joyous and daunting experience. While you look forward to the bond and shared memories, you might also feel uncertain about what to expect. Cedar Highlands by Belamour Care in Vancouver, WA, aims to dispel fears by offering insights into visiting a senior living community.

Setting the Stage: Understanding Senior Living

  1. Senior Living Defined
  2. Senior living, often misconstrued, simply refers to housing designed for older adults. These can range from independent living communities to more specialized care environments. The key is that they prioritize the well-being of seniors.
  3. The Importance of Visits
  4. Visits from family and friends play a crucial role in a senior’s emotional health. Not only do they combat feelings of isolation, but they also reinforce bonds and create memorable experiences.
  5. Cedar Highlands’ Approach
  6. At Cedar Highlands by Belamour Care, we pride ourselves on fostering an environment where families feel welcomed. Our staff are always available to assist visitors and ensure their visits are as comfortable as possible.

Preparing for Your Visit

  1. Know the Policies
  2. Each senior living community has its visitation policies. It’s imperative to familiarize yourself with these beforehand. This can include visiting hours, the number of visitors allowed, and any health screenings.
  3. Communicate Ahead of Time
  4. Before your visit, let your loved one know. This simple gesture can significantly boost their mood, giving them something to anticipate.
  5. Prepare Emotionally
  6. Be mentally ready for changes you might observe in your loved one. It’s natural for seniors to undergo certain physical and cognitive shifts. Approach your visit with empathy and understanding.

During Your Visit

  1. Active Engagement is Key
  2. Engage in meaningful conversations. Recollect old memories, discuss current events, or even plan potential activities for future visits.
  3. Participate in Community Activities
  4. Many senior living communities, like Cedar Highlands, offer various activities. Participate alongside your loved one; this can be a fun bonding experience.
  5. Respect Privacy and Independence
  6. While you’re there to connect, remember to respect their independence. It’s essential to strike a balance between being present and giving them space.

During Your Visit

Navigating Emotional Challenges

  1. Accept the Emotional Spectrum
  2. It’s natural for both you and your loved one to experience a spectrum of emotions during the visit. Accept them, and don’t shy away from expressing your feelings.
  3. Seek Support if Needed
  4. If your visit stirs up intense emotions, consider seeking support. Cedar Highlands has a team of professionals ready to help and offer guidance.
  5. Understanding Memory Challenges
  6. If your loved one faces memory challenges, be patient. Remind them of shared memories without expressing frustration or sadness.

Creating a Positive Environment

  1. Bring Familiar Items
  2. Carry items like photographs, favorite snacks, or even a playlist of their beloved songs. Familiar items can spark joy and facilitate engagement.
  3. Stay Updated on Their Interests
  4. Keeping abreast of their current hobbies and interests ensures you always have a topic to bond over.
  5. Ask for Feedback
  6. After the visit, ask your loved one how they felt and if there’s anything you can improve upon in subsequent visits.

Tips for Regular Visitors

  1. Create a Routine
  2. Routine visits can provide something consistent for your loved one to look forward to. It also aids in building a sense of normalcy.
  3. Document Memories
  4. Consider documenting your visits through photos, journaling, or videos. This serves as a treasured memory and can be a conversation starter in future visits.
  5. Stay Involved with the Community
  6. Frequent visitors can benefit from staying involved in the community. Join newsletters, participate in events or volunteer. It fosters a deeper connection and understanding of your loved one’s environment.

Understanding the Health Protocols

  1. Importance of Health Screenings
  2. Given the vulnerability of seniors, many senior living communities have health screening protocols. At Cedar Highlands, we prioritize the health of both our residents and visitors. Be prepared for temperature checks and quick health questionnaires.
  3. Hygiene Protocols
  4. Always ensure you follow recommended hygiene protocols. This includes washing your hands frequently and wearing masks when required.
  5. Stay Home if Unwell
  6. If you feel even slightly unwell, it’s best to reschedule your visit. It ensures the safety of your loved one and others in the community.

Making the Most of Your Time

  1. Outdoor Activities
  2. Utilize the beautiful outdoor spaces in senior living communities. Taking a stroll or sitting in a garden can be therapeutic for you and your loved one.
  3. Group Activities
  4. Many senior living communities, including Cedar Highlands, organize group activities. These can range from art classes to music sessions. Participating together can create beautiful memories.
  5. Listen Actively
  6. While conversing, ensure you listen actively. It’s essential to make your loved one feel heard and valued.

Departure: Leaving on a Positive Note

  1. Plan the Next Visit
  2. Before leaving, discuss and plan the next visit. It gives both you and your loved one something to look forward to.
  3. Leave a Parting Gift
  4. Consider leaving behind a small gift – be it a handwritten note, a book, or any other token of love. It serves as a reminder of your time together.
  5. Express Gratitude
  6. Thank the staff and any other individuals who made your visit pleasant. The community at Cedar Highlands always appreciates the positive feedback.


It’s essential to approach visits to senior living communities with understanding, patience, and empathy. While it might seem challenging initially, the joy and memories shared during these visits are irreplaceable. Cedar Highlands by Belamour Care in Vancouver, WA, strives to provide an environment where both residents and visitors feel at home, ensuring every visit is memorable.

How Can We Assist?

If you have any more questions about visiting loved ones in senior living or need more insights into making your visits meaningful, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Cedar Highlands by Belamour Care is always here to help. Feel free to contact us at 360-369-3194. We’re committed to ensuring your visits are heartwarming and cherished.