For those who have a loved one in an assisted living or memory care community, this question lurks in the back of all of our minds. There is no right answer, only the answer that is right for you.
I recall several times having voice mail waiting for me asking “When are you coming to visit?” In many cases, the calls came within 20 or 30 minutes AFTER my visit. Why am I visiting when my mom doesn’t even remember it?
I came to realize that I needed to recognize my visits were for me. What was the right balance to not only be her advocate and make sure she was getting the right care, but also ensured that I was also present for my own family. The weekly number of visits fluctuated over the last few years of mom’s life. I always struggled to know what was the right amount, but that was only something that could come from within me.
There were times when mom didn’t recognize me, and other times when she would say something so personal or insightful, I would have to excuse myself to avoid crying in front of her. I missed her even though I was with her. The dementia stole her away bit-by-bit.
There are also those times when your loved one can tell you how much your visit means. The picture is exactly one year before my mom’s death. That day she let me know how much my visit mattered. Appreciated.