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Bringing Families And Residents Together Again
The following problems provide the framework for inservice sessions or information for
those who work with the aging. If used as inservice material, first read the question and
then ask those present to come up with their own answers or solutions based on their
own experiences. After they have fully discussed the situation, you may read the
Bringing families and residents together again
Residents do not want their families to abandon them after they move to a long-term
care facility. However, it seems that some families don’t come around as often as they
could. What can the activity program do to involve families more in activities and facility
Most families of residents would like to feel that they could still contribute to a
satisfactory quality of life for their loved one, even though living apart from them now,
says Enid J. Portnay, EdD, in her book Make Their Days: Activities for Residents in
Long- Term Care. Unfortunately, says Portnay, some family members may feel they
have little to offer to the facility environment. If a special effort is made to involve them, it
may be possible to reinforce their confidence and sense of belonging in the facility’s
One way that Portnay recommends including family members is a Family Talent activity.
Older residents are usually delighted to point out the special talents and attributes of a
family member to their fellow residents, she says. It is gratifying for older people to
share pride in their relatives. The Family Talent entertainment can include
demonstrating a recipe, explaining how to do something, showing slides, playing the
piano, or participating in a sing-along. Although the program may be brief, it
accomplishes the purpose of bringing residents and families together for socialization
and makes family members feel more a part of the resident’s life at the facility.
Tips to help new residents who wander
One of our new residents has had a problem with wandering ever since he came to the
facility. He has dementia, but his family says he never wandered before. What is
making him wander now, and how can we help?
New residents tend to feel unsettled and suffer from a tremendous sense of loss,
according to Vivian J. Koroknay, RNC, MS, et al., writing in Toward a Restraint-Free
Environment, edited by Judith V. Braun, RN, PhD, and Steven Lipson, MD, MPH. The
wandering of new residents often has a searching quality that may express the sense
of loss they feel, say the authors. New residents who wander can be helped by the
· Help residents find their place in the facility or unit.
· Befriend new residents.
· Make eye contact and walk arm in arm with new residents.
· Have a volunteer accompany new residents outdoors.
· Encourage residents to follow favorite routines from the past.
· Encourage families to visit often.
· Try to determine the meaning of the behavior from the resident’s viewpoint.
· If necessary, transfer the resident to a unit where he or she may wander safely.