The transition from home care to a health care facility can be difficult for caregivers and individuals alike.The following are helpful visiting tips when visiting your loved one who lives in a care facility compiled by CanGO: Canadian Geriatric Opportunities for you!

VISIT: sit & talk with the person; ask how he/she is and tell how you are; sit at their level & make eye contact.

BRING FRIENDS & FAMILY MEMBERS TO VISIT: don’t forget children & old friends.


ATTEND A REGULAR SCHEDULED ACTIVITY PROGRAM: ask the activity coordinator for a schedule of events.

DO PERSONAL CARE-INVOLVE HUMAN TOUCH: hair care, manicures, hand lotion rubs or mini massages, bring your loved one a new hat, scarf, piece of jewellery, cologne for pick-me-up.

EAT A MEAL OR SNACK: together.

BRING PHOTOS & LETTER TO READ: together-either old familiar or recent ones.


BRING SIMPLE TASKS TO SHARE: use your loved one’s address book to send postcards & greetings to family & friends; bring small projects such as mending or folding that your loved one can help you with-encourage feelings of usefulness.

DECORATE: add or change things to your loved one’s room; bring items which are orienting such as clocks or calendars with their favourite theme; bring stimulating objects such as photos, radios, tv’s, dried flowers, awards.  A room can become monotonous & we all need a change of scenery.

OUTINGS: go for a walk, out for a drive or meal or take your loved one with you when you run errands for company and a change of pace; visit outdoors in facility courtyards if weather permits; ask the facility to borrow a wheelchair if needed for these purposes.

ASK QUESTIONS: ask your loved one something you have always wanted to know about him/her; tape some of these memories as part of a family history project.

PLAY GAMES: checkers, cards, simple jig saw puzzles, word searches-ask the activity staff of the facility for loan of these types of items.


Adjusting to life in a care home can be easier when you and your loved one have quality enjoyable visits together.  It is often easier emotionally for both care giver and care receiver to visit at a time when there is a scheduled activity going on in the facility.  Please seek out the expertise of the activity coordinator and staff in the centre to plan for these pastimes you can enjoy together.

Copyright Shelley Purdon


  • Shelley Purdon, family caregiver & editor of CanGO Quarterly Magazine: Canadian Geriatric Opportunities in Therapeutic Recreation.

    CanGO Quarterly is a quarterly magazine available by subscription for health care providers and activity & recreation professionals working with seniors.