Children Visiting Grandparents in Assisted Living: What You Need to Know

If you are the adult child of an aging adult who has moved to assisted living, you may in turn have younger children of your own. Your children understandably want to continue their connections with their grandparent regardless of the move to assisted living. As you prepare for your children’s first visit to see their grandparent in assisted living, there are a number of strategies and tips to bear in mind. There are matters to consider before and after the visit. Moreover, there are some practical things to be done while your children are visiting their grandparent in assisted living.

Before a Grandchild Visits an Assisted Living Facility

Proper preparation is crucial in order to ensure a good visit between grandchildren and a grandparent in assisted living. This is particularly the case before the first visit of grandchildren to assisted living to see a grandparent. 

Properly preparing a child for a visit to a grandparent at assisted living can minimize any potential discomfort or stress about being in a long-term care setting, about spending time in a new setting. The preparation should include an explanation of what the facility looks like and what to expect to see going on at the community. You also will want to provide detailed information about how children need to conduct themselves when visiting a grandparent in an assisted living community. 

You will want to be thoughtful about the time of day and the day or week when you plan a visit for the grandchildren to a grandparent at an assisted living community. You will want to consider the community’s schedule when planning a grandchildren visit to a grandparent in assisted living.

Practical Tips for Children Visiting a Grandparent in Assisted Living

At the heart of a successful visit to a grandparent in an assisted living community by grandchildren is engaging in activities that are entertaining to children and older adult alike. A prime example of an activity that can occur when grandchildren visit a grandparent in assisted living is enjoying a meal together. A meal could be in the community dining room (understanding that there may be a meal charge if more than one family member is involved in the visit). You could also eat in the resident’s apartment or room. If weather permits, a picnic could be enjoyed outside.

Depending on the age of your child, a favorite book might be brought along to the grandparent visit at assisted living. A period of reading can be a nice addition to a grandparent assisted living visit. 

Spending time watching a movie during a grandparent and grandchild assisted living visit is also a good way to structure time together. A key objective is to try and select a movie the children and grandparent alike will enjoy. You will also want to carve out time to talk beyond just sitting and tuning into a movie.

Playing a favorite game of cards is another solid visit plan for a grandparent and grandchildren. In fact, you might want to take a deck of cards and a board game or two that grandchildren and alike might enjoy. 

Bringing along photos or videos of family and other people important to the grandparent and children can be a pleasant addition to a visit at an assisted living community. This can include photos from days gone by as well as of recent activities of the assisted living resident’s family that he or she might enjoy seeing. Consider taking plenty of visits of making a video during the visit as well. 

Part of the visit between grandchildren and a grandparent who resides in assisted living is to take a walk at some point during the visit. This is a great way for everyone to get a bit of exercise and enjoy pleasant time out of doors.

Some assisted living communities will permit certain types of pets to visit residents. If that is the case in the community at which the grandparent resides, a pet visit along with the grandchildren can be a nice plan. Make sure you clear a pet visit with assisted living staff before the date of the scheduled get-together. If you and your family have adopted your own parent’s pet before your mother or father moved into assisted living home, bringing that pet along for the visit is particularly nice. Again, do confirm that having a pet visit is acceptable with the community. 

After a Grandchild Visits an Assisted Living Facility

Be prepared to spend a bit of time with your children processing their grandparent visit in assisted living, particularly after the first such occurrence. Make sure you provide honest and age-appropriate answers to any questions that your children may have about the visit, the facility, and their grandparent. Ultimately, you want a visit between your grandchildren and their grandparent at assisted living something that both children and aging adult alike look forward to in the future.