Several visits may be required before a bond of friendship and trust will be established between you ant the persons visited.  In the beginning, residents may simply not know how to accept your attention.  The following suggestions may help to guide you.

  • Learn something about your prospective friend before visiting: interests, background, limitations and needs.
  • Touch and hug.  Physical touch can go a long way toward letting the resident know you care.  BUT Ė understand that some may not be open to this.  So proceed with dignity and respect.  You will never go wrong if you ask the one you are visiting if they would mind being hugged.
  • Respect confidence.  Keep private conversations private.
  • Be a good listener.  Your friend may often have no one else who spends to talk.
  • Keep promises.  Be careful what you promise.  Never say anything unless you mean it.
  • Be conscientious about meeting your scheduled visits.
  • Encourage friendship among the residents.
  • Be gentle, kind and sincere.
  • Respect privacy.  Knock before entering a room.
  • Remember that residents are adults and should be treated as such.  Accept and respect each resident as a unique individual, regardless of mental or physical condition.
  • Remember that you are a vital part of the community; so is the resident.

  • Be a clock-watcher while visiting.  Quality, not quantity of time is important.
  • Feel obliged to solve the personal problems of the resident.  Just being there to listen and empathize is important.
  • Let the resident dwell on negative feelings.  Allow them to express themselves, then move on to a positive activity.
  • Bring food items for the resident before clearing it with the activity director or nurse.
  • Attempt to give nursing care or perform duties of paid staff such as lifting or transferring.

(Courtesy of Friendly Visitor Program Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas).

Copyright © 2012 Catholic Ministry To Sick And Aged