I'm sure like many others out there you too have loved ones in a rest home, whether it be Grandparents, Parents or loved family friends.
If your like me visiting these loved ones can turn into a major mission, not only because 9x out of 10 I have a Miss Midget in tow but there are all these things you have to take into account.
A) Is it near Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea or the very early Dinner? If answer is yes, are your loved ones liable to parade you around the rest home and show you off to all their friends turning your 1/2 hour / hour visit into a few hours affair where you become the side show? If yes my suggestion is unless you have the time and enegry to cope with such an adventure avoid these times or at least have a exit strategy just in case.
B) Do you need to warn them that you are coming? Are they likely to be in their room? - The answer for my grandparents is yes I do need to warn them that I am coming otherwise I could spend a eternity trying to find my way around the rabbit warren and am liable to get lost trying to find them. You can also run the risk of it turning into a A) problem where you turn into the side show. Also if you don't warn them there is the chance that they could be napping etc.
C) Have you rung them in the last few days, this is counting the warning you give them for your visit? - If yours are anything like mine be prepared to hear the same stories again that you heard via the phone. Actually just be prepared to hear the stories again anyway. My grandmother is especially good at telling the same story about 3x in a 30min - 1 hour visit. While this is really no fault of hers. She really just wants to make conversation and due to the fact she's 87 almost 88 I count 3x times a story as not so bad.
D) - Is there a possibility that you may not make the date you told them about? - If there is a slight possibility that you may not be able to make the date that you have told them about then you need to tell them. This will help if you need to make the dreaded "I can't make it" phone call. Also do take into account that your visit is most probably going to be the highlight of their day/week so do not cancel lightly.
Once I have taken all of the above into account then I add the Miss Midget factor -
E) - Is Miss Midget in a good mood? - No She's not? Try and put her in better mood before visit or warn Grandparents that she's not in the happiest of moods and that it will be a short visit. If there is a meltdown prior to leaving, gauge how bad and continue at own risk.
F) What do I need to keep her happy for the time we are at the rest home? - Apart from all the mandatory kids things you take when you are out (bag of nappies and spare clothes just in case) what else does Miss Midget need to make it through this visit? Toys and whatever else you can think of. Food like biscuits is always good as long as she's not going to spread mess around their room etc. I of course am taking into account that she is a sideshow all on her own being 2 and half and learning so many new things so some time will be wasted while she shows Nana Lil and Popa Ken all her new tricks.
G) The latest stumbling block we've had to face is - Is anyone sick? Me? Miss Midget? Nana or Popa? - If the answer is yes unfortunately all of the above goes out the window and it's best to not visit. If your the one sick then it's best not to spread the bugs to the home. Things spread like wild fire there and due to the people they have in these places best not to tempt fate. If you are taking little kids with you and the people your visiting are sick then again best not to go cause the bugs can get nasty (the bugs not the loved ones lol).
So these are most of the things I take into account when I visit my grandparents.
I might just add I do love them dearly and do go visit where I can just as you can see taking most of these things into a account you almost have to prepare for war before you get there but it nice to make their day and show off my Miss Midget :).