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The Importance of Family Visits

By Heather Brown
May 13, 2016

Families across the United States trust adult residential care homes and facilities to care for their loved ones and these residents rely on you to provide care and assist them with their daily needs.  Even with your care and love, residents still need to have a connection with the community as well as their family and friends.  How often do you see residents start to feel lonely or depressed because they do not receive visits or have the opportunity to interact with others outside of the adult residential care home or facility? It is sad to see residents longing for more company and visits are essential to their overall happiness and quality of life.
What Can You Do as A Provider?
Adult residential care home owners and providers have the opportunity to help promote visits, interaction and involvement with family members and the residents. If your residents are not receiving visitors on a consistent basis, here are a few things you can do encourage visits:
1. Host Family Days.  Set a monthly date that invites resident families into your adult residential care home or facility to visit with the residents.  Often times, family members get carried away with their own schedules that they overlook visits or forget to schedule them on their calendar.  This helps to remind them and gives them a way of scheduling monthly visits.
2. Throw Birthday Parties.  Send an invitation to the family and celebrate the resident’s birthday. This is a great way to gently remind families of the important date as well as make the resident feel remembered and special.
3. Invite Local Youth Groups/Volunteer Groups.  There are cases where residents do not have any family near or have no remaining family that can come to visit.  By partnering with local youth or volunteers groups, you can help the residents build friendships and relationships with those outside of the home.
4. Set up a Pen Pal Program. Invite local youth groups or class rooms to write to your residents.  Pen Pal programs give your residents something special to look forward to.  Receiving mail in an increasing digital age is a rare treat.  Along with this program, you can invite your pen pals to come and visit for a special picnic in the summer or a Christmas party in December.
Why Are Visits Important?
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, quality of life increases with greater involvement from family and friends and leads to fewer health issues, fewer conflict issues, and an increase in participation in their surrounding environments.   Visits can impact the residents in the following ways:
1. Improve overall happiness. The study shows that residents who receive regular visits tend to be happier and lead happier lives. Overall happiness is also linked to increased health benefits like fewer chances of health problems and a decreased chance of depression.

2. Provides Emotional Support.  Sometimes residents need an outside person to talk to about any frustrations they may be feeling in regards to the adult residential care home or other residents.  Visitors give the resident the opportunity to share and talk through their frustrations and can lead to them feeling more comfortable discussing their concerns with the providers.

3. Makes Them Feel Wanted.  Many residents, especially those that are parents, have a desire to feel needed or wanted by their loved ones.  Visits from family members helps to reassure residents that they are still wanted and just as important as prior to entering the adult residential care home or facility.

Residents that enter adult residential care facilities or homes are often scared they will be placed and forgotten about.  Frequent visits from family members and friends are a great way to remind them they have not been forgotten and also help to increase their quality of life.  As a provider, you have numerous opportunities to help promote visits from family and friends or help create relationships with others in the community. Emotional health is an important an aspect in assisting residents with their daily living needs.

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