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Jason W. Swanson: Nursing home tips for families

Letter writer urges families to help nursing homes.

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As a child, I was fortunate enough to grow up with great-grandparents within my hometown.

This allowed me to get to know them and stirred my mind into the fascinating world of genealogy. Getting to know them meant visiting, and many of those visits were in nursing home facilities.

I found that visiting was a wonderful way to learn from people, to be able to interact and to see family and friends.

With the recent pandemic, nursing homes have restricted visiting rights except for compassionate visiting, which is the ability to visit a family member who is on hospice care.

As time passes, we see more and more restlessness due to not being able to visit our friends, families and neighbors.

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While it may be difficult for us to try to visit them, it is even more difficult for the resident in the facility.

We don’t know how long the pandemic will last, how long the nursing home visiting restrictions will be in place and what it is going to look like when we can visit again.

So, what can we do in the meantime?

Many facilities are looking at technology to establish virtual visiting, visit via windows and other innovative ways.

Tips for those visiting their loved ones at nursing homes:

Contact the facility and see what their guidelines are.

Ask your loved one what they prefer (phone, virtual, other) and respect the privacy of other residents when visiting.

Finally, we ask that you respect the facility’s policies surrounding visits.

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These restrictions are in place to protect our loved ones. Talk with staff to work through any questions you may have and make sure to give them a thank you, these times are affecting them as well.

Jason W. Swanson, HSE

Executive Director

Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging
Mankato

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