What to Bring With You When Visiting a Loved One in Memory CareBrandermill Woods independent living angle

What to Bring With You When Visiting a Loved One in Memory Care

Friday, April 26, 2024

Visiting a loved one in a Memory Care community can be an incredibly emotional experience. On the one hand, you want to support your loved one and enjoy your time together. On the other hand, it can be difficult to accept their memory loss.

Fortunately, bringing the right resources along for your visits can, in some cases, make the transition to Memory Care easier for both you and your loved one. Over the years, we have identified several resources that have helped our residents, and their families, make this adjustment and enjoy their visits.

Below is a look at several tools you can incorporate into your visit when first adjusting to The Holly Inn, Memory Care community.

Favorite Games

If your loved one enjoys playing board or card games, bringing one or two of their favorite games along can provide plenty of entertainment. Playing a game that your loved one is already familiar with is often the best option. One-on-one games without complex rules, such as checkers or Connect Four, are other good choices.

These types of games may stimulate cognitive function. Most importantly, playing board and card games can make your visit more enjoyable. It gives you the ability to spend time with your loved one without solely focusing on their memory loss.

Family Pictures

One of the best things you can do to help your loved one adjust to memory care is to surround them with familiar things. This includes family pictures. When your loved one is moving in, bring a few pictures along to hang in their room. Try to bring a mixture of pictures that depict different milestones in their life, such as weddings, graduations, and family reunions.

It’s also a good idea to bring pictures or photo albums along when you visit. You can go through these pictures to remind your loved one who everyone is. Family pictures can also be a great starting point for reminiscing, and potentially help spark your loved one's memory pertaining to major events in their lives. Even if that doesn't happen, though, the photos will still give you a chance to share details about these past events.

Comfy Clothes

To help your loved one feel right at home at The Holly Inn, we want to make them as comfortable as possible. During one of your first visits, bring along some comfortable clothes. Loose-fitting clothes that are easy to put on and take off are good options. For example, choosing pants with an elastic waistband can be better than pants with buttons and zippers. Overall, you likely know your loved one better than anyone else, so bringing clothes that you know they’ll feel most comfortable in may help them adjust better.

Essential Oils

Studies show a direct link between the use of certain essential oils and improved brain functioning. These studies show that aromatherapy with seniors experiencing memory loss can stimulate brain function, which can boost memory and learning. For example, aromatherapy using lavender and rose showed a 226% boost in word recall.

There are a number of essential oils you can bring along on your next visit, including:

  • Lavender or Chamomile: good for seniors having trouble sleeping
  • Gourmand: can help stimulate appetite
  • Citrus: can promote focus and motivation


Music is another tool often used with seniors facing Alzheimer’s or other memory loss issues. You can bring along a CD player with CDs or a radio, or help your loved one set up an online music account, such as Spotify or Pandora. Playing the music that your loved one is most familiar with may not only help spur memories, but it may also make your loved one feel more relaxed and at home. If you’re up to it, you can even sing a few songs together and create new memories with your loved one.


Pet therapy can help improve mood, reduce stress, and cue memories. If you have a well-behaved pet at home, consider bringing it along on your next visit. Simple engagement with a dog, cat, or other pet can bring joy to your visit and give you a chance to reminisce about the various pets you and your loved one may have had over the years.

At Brandermill Woods, we welcome pet visits to our Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care communities. Before bringing your pet for the first time, be sure to check with our staff to ensure the size and type of your pet meets our community standards and regulations.

As a Continuing Care Retirement Community, we can provide the specific level of care your loved one needs. Contact us at (804) 419-1182 to learn more or to schedule a tour.