As a rule, you should visit your elderly parents as much as they can reasonably handle, though the exact frequency and length of your visit will vary based on your parents’ condition, their schedule and their ability to manage social calls. You may also be limited by the visitors’ policy at the facility where your parents live.

Visiting Independent Seniors and Parents in Assisted Living

Seniors who live independently or in assisted living communities are generally free to visit with anybody they like as often as they wish. If your elderly parents live at home by themselves or with a caregiver, or they live in an assisted living facility, there really isn’t a practical limit to the frequency and duration of your visits. If your parents are able to live with the same or similar independence as they had when they were your age, the only limiting factor to your visits is probably your ability to make it to their home and their enthusiasm for seeing you.

Many people see their elderly parents every day when they drop off their grandchildren and go to work. Others make a point of visiting every weekend, every other weekend or on whatever schedule is mutually agreeable. As a rule, the more you visit the better, though seniors can also benefit from having a bit of time for themselves apart from visitors, even beloved family members.

Visiting Your Parents in Inpatient and Long-Term Care

Seniors may not be able to manage as many visits when they transition into inpatient or long-term care. Hospitals frequently have certain visiting hours, which can limit the time you spend with your parent after surgery or immediately after an injury. Overnight stays at the hospital may be an exception to this limit, though a lot depends on the hospital’s policy and your parent’s condition.

Residential care homes, nursing homes and memory care facilities aim to allow as much visiting time as possible, however they may limit visiting hours like hospitals to avoid disturbing other residents. Even with these restrictions, daily visits are usually just fine, provided your parents are able to get all the care they require and still have the privacy they need. Most hospice care facilities do whatever they reasonably can to facilitate nearly unlimited visits from family and friends since the focus of care has shifted away from treatment and toward the comfort of the patient. As long as your visits aren’t disruptive or distressing to your parents, you’re likely to have unrestricted time to stay with them.

When Should You Avoid Visiting Your Parents?

As positive as family visits can be for most seniors, sometimes frequent visits can do more harm than good. If, for example, your elderly parent has dementia and gets upset when you visit, it might be best to limit your time with them in person. This isn’t very common, but if your visits cause distress for a parent who has trouble remembering loved ones, you may want to visit less frequently and rely more on the staff for updates about your loved one’s condition. Visits may still be possible, but your parent’s well-being should be the highest priority for memory care staff.