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Can You Visit a Dementia Patient Too Much?

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When a loved one has dementia, it’s only natural to want to be there to support and spend time with them. But if their condition grows more severe, you might start to question if there is such a thing as too much visiting. 

You can gauge this by seeing how your loved one responds to your visits and speaking with their caregivers, making necessary adjustments to find the right balance. 

Read on to learn more about dementia care and how to find harmony in your visits with your loved one to ensure they feel supported.

Understanding Dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term for diseases and conditions that cause symptoms such as memory loss and impaired judgment. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia, but others include Lewy body dementia and vascular dementia.

Memory Conditions as We Age

A person’s capacity to speak, carry out daily duties, and comprehend their surroundings is increasingly compromised by these conditions. Recognizing the gradual nature of dementia and developing excellent communication skills with individuals affected can help provide understanding. 

Dementia also calls for tolerance and understanding, as a person who has dementia may become confused, have mood swings, or experience personality changes. Caregivers can better support their loved ones through the difficulties associated with dementia by fully understanding the condition.

Recognizing Symptoms

A variety of symptoms linked to cognitive decline, including memory loss, language impairments, and difficulty solving tasks, are common in dementia. Often mild at first, these changes can get so severe for a person who has dementia that they interfere with day-to-day functioning.

The Impact of Visiting a Loved One with Dementia

Changes are often severe enough to call for a transition into a memory care community that can provide your loved one with the support they need. However, it’s important to realize that dementia affects every person differently. Given this variability, the appropriateness and frequency of visits can differ from one individual to the next.

Positive Impacts of Visiting

Whether your loved one living in a memory care community or has a designated caregiver in their own home, visits can offer substantial benefits for those with dementia. They can:

  • Foster Emotional Connections: Regular visits can help maintain the emotional bond between the patient and their loved ones. Seeing familiar faces may provide comfort and reassurance, even if they struggle with memory recall. 
  • Stimulate Cognitive Functions: Interaction with visitors can stimulate cognitive functions in people with dementia. Engaging in conversations, reminiscing about past experiences, or even participating in simple games can encourage mental activity and potentially slow the progression of memory loss.
  • Encourage Physical Activity: Visitors can motivate people with dementia to engage in physical activity, whether it’s taking a short walk, doing simple stretches, or participating in light exercise. Physical activity is important for maintaining overall health and can improve mood and mobility in people with dementia.
  • Provide Respite for Caregivers: When others visit, it allows caregivers to rest and take time for themselves, contributing to their health and well-being.
  • Boost Mood: Companionship can significantly improve a patient’s mood and self-esteem.
  • Provide Stimulation: Interaction with visitors can help keep older adults’ minds engaged.
  • Maintain Relationships: Regular visits uphold the personal connection, which can be grounding for people with dementia.

Consider routines and familiarity, as they are comforting for people with dementia, so regular visits can impart a sense of normalcy and security.

Other Impacts of Visits 

​​While visits are generally seen as positive, over-visitation can occur, leading to adverse effects such as:

  • Overstimulation: Too much stimulation might be overwhelming and can exacerbate confusion and agitation in some.
  • Fatigue: People with dementia may tire easily. Lengthy or too frequent visits can lead to exhaustion.
  • Behavioral Changes: If a person exhibits increased distress, agitation, or discomfort following visits, it may be a sign to re-evaluate the visiting frequency and duration.

Navigating the Right Balance

Discovering the right visiting balance is essential, and it may require trial and error. Consider these tips:

  • Closely Observe Reactions: Signs of enjoyment and engagement are positive indicators, while signs of fatigue or agitation may suggest the need for shorter or less frequent visits.
  • Communicate with Caregivers: A caregiver’s observations can help you determine the best times for visits and the activities most likely to be enjoyed during your visits.
  • Establish a Routine: Try to schedule visits at times of the day when your loved one is most alert and receptive. Consistency can help in creating a sense of stability and security.
  • Adapt Activities to Their Abilities: Simple activities such as looking through photo albums, listening to favorite music, or gentle walks can be meaningful.
  • Know When to Step Back: There may be times when it’s best to limit visits, especially if your loved one is going through a particularly challenging phase of their condition. Respecting these needs is crucial for their well-being.
  • Use Technology to Maintain Connection: When physical visits are not possible or are limited, technology such as video calls can maintain the connection without being overwhelming.
  • Evaluate and Adjust Regularly: Be prepared to continually reassess and adapt your visiting schedule and activities based on the evolving needs of your loved one.
An older adult woman and a her son sitting sitting on a couch, smiling and talking to each other while holding a warm beverage

The Role of Friends & Family

To provide older adults with dementia care and comfort, friends and family are extremely important. Even while every visit can be touching, it’s important to watch for signals that might indicate changing your visiting patterns. Your loved one’s happiness and well-being are the main priorities of these meetings. 

Finding the Right Support

Consider reaching out to support groups or professionals who can provide guidance tailored to your unique situation. It’s also beneficial to engage with other friends and family members to create a coordinated visiting schedule that ensures regular, balanced, and positive interactions.

Visiting a loved one with dementia living in a memory care community can be a great comfort and joy for all involved. If you are considering memory care for a family member, contact Liana of Venice today for more information or schedule a tour of our community.


Written by Angela Clark

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