Dear Carol: My husband and I are traveling this Christmas and want to take a side trip to visit my aging aunt who is in a nursing home. My aunt has Alzheimer’s disease, which we don’t have experience with. Besides that, we are both uncomfortable in a hospital setting and haven’t had experience with nursing homes. What should we consider? – Jen
Dear Jen: It’s wonderful that you plan to visit your aunt, and you’re on top of the game just by recognizing that there may be a protocol to consider when visiting a nursing home. Remember that people in nursing homes are not hospital patients. The nursing home is their real home. Just like the rest of us, they likely feel most comfortable staying with their daily routine. I’d call the nursing home ahead of time and identify yourself as your aunt’s niece, then ask to speak with a nurse or social worker about the best time to visit. You may also ask if there’s something appropriate you could bring.