The best time to visit a nursing home will depend on the needs and schedules of the person you’re visiting. As a general rule, visits in midmorning or midafternoon are best because these times don’t conflict with meals and often coincide with the hours in which nursing home residents are most alert and ready for visitors.

How To Determine the Best Time to Visit

One way to determine the best time to visit someone in a nursing home is simply to ask. You could ask the person you’re visiting when they would like some company. There may be a preference for morning or afternoon or for particular days. If the person cannot answer, however, or doesn’t seem to know, you should talk to staff members. They can let you know the person’s regular schedule and activities.

You may actually be surprised how busy that schedule can be for someone in a nursing home. You might have to work your visits around mealtimes, therapy sessions or a person’s favorite activities. There could also be times when the person you want to visit tends to take naps. If you visit then, you may find yourself simply watching someone sleep. Also, don’t visit too early in the morning when people are just starting their day or too late in the evening when people are getting ready for bed, usually quite early. The better you understand the person’s schedule, the better able you’ll be to choose the best time for an enjoyable and meaningful visit.

How To Make a Satisfactory Visit

Always remember that when you visit someone in the nursing home, you’re the guest. You don’t need to make plans for activities during your visit (or you should at least ask ahead of time). It’s often enough to sit quietly together, relax and chat. You can talk about what’s going on in your life, but let the person you’re visiting have a chance to talk too, and even guide the conversation. You’re there to give that person a pleasant time, so keep that as your focus. Allow plenty of time for reminiscing if that’s what the person prefers, and even if you repeat the same things 10 times, do so with a smile.

There may be times when your visit doesn’t turn out as you’d prefer. Try to be flexible. If the person you’re visiting is asleep, for example, don’t disturb them. Come back at another time. If there’s a scheduled activity the person wants to participate in, ask if you can go along, and then make every effort to join in the fun. Most of all, keep coming back. Most elderly people in nursing homes love having visitors. It breaks up their day and adds a bit of flavor to life. So be consistent in your visits. If you say you’re going to come, then do so. Don’t cancel unless absolutely necessary, and if you do cancel, schedule another visit right away.