How often you should visit your mother in a nursing home depends on your schedule, your relationship, the distance between your home and the facility and the amount of time your mother has lived in the nursing home. Expert recommendations vary, but most agree that weekly or monthly visits may be best, according to the situation.

Visiting Schedules

If your mother is moving into a nursing home, the transition can be difficult. There are two schools of thought about visits during this period. The first advises loved ones to stay away for a while to let new residents get settled. The idea is that residents need time to adjust to their new schedules and activities and that too many visits from family members can get in the way. The other school of thought suggests frequent visits during the first few weeks. These visits can fight stress and help a new resident feel more relaxed and comfortable thanks to familiar faces and time with loved ones. The option you choose depends on your loved one’s personality, adjustment and needs.

After your mother has settled into her new home, your visiting schedule might change. You may visit once a week or stop by every couple of weeks or once a month. Most experts say that daily visits aren’t necessary, but you might disagree and choose a more frequent visiting schedule. The frequency will be guided by your relationship with your loved one, your distance from the nursing home and your current obligations. Whatever you decide, be consistent in your visits. Elderly people look forward to seeing their loved ones regularly and experience great disappointment when family and friends fail to show up. If this becomes a habit, it can lead to depression and anxiety and even contribute to health issues.

Visiting Activities

When you visit your mother or other loved one in a nursing home, don’t try to do too much. Often, just sitting in a quiet, comfortable place for a good chat is enough. You could bring along an old photo album and reminisce for a while or simply tell your mother all about what has been going on in your life lately. Be sure to ask her what’s new with her, too.

Focus on the quality of each visit rather than the amount of time spent. You may only be able to stay for a half hour. If so, make it a half hour filled with love and enjoyment. Be aware, also, that your loved one might get involved with activities or have therapy sessions. Try to schedule your visits around these so that your mother can get involved in the community and make friends. You could participate in community activities, too, if your mother prefers, but try to make at least some visits to focus on keeping your relationship healthy and satisfying for both of you. Your mother will be less lonely and better adjusted if you continually show her you care.