Should I visit a woman in a nursing home?

I work in care and there was a woman there for nearly four years with me, she had learning difficulties and then dementia. I have visited her a few times as she doesn’t really get visitors and would like to go again but would it be better if I didn’t?

Because of the level of her dementia she will not think of me until she sees me, we got along very well, when I turn up she remembers me and then the home she lived in and maybe it is unfair to bring these memories back. The last time she didn’t want me to leave.

I don’t know whether it will do more harm than good to see her, I don’t know how she feels after I have gone or maybe it is worth it for her?

Any thoughts?


Isn’t that one of the works of mercy? I know how you feel but even if you just go by and stay only a few minutes it is good o visit her.


Absolutely. Nursing homes count as visiting the imprisoned. Why is it unfair to bring back memories? Are they all painful?


I think you should go because it will mean a lot to her. She’ll be happy and overjoyed for seeing you, and that is an immense work of love and mercy. It is an opportunity for you to see that person and gain great merits in the eyes of Jesus.


Talk to the staff at the nursing home…ask them if it’s better for the woman if you visit or stay away. Sometimes it may be better to stay away if your visits agitate her. If she enjoys your visits, by all means go!

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Think of it maybe as a way of you reaching out to her. Those memories are somehow important to her. How does she react when she talks about them?

You might want to talk to the nursing staff about this, as they know better than anyone else what effect your visits have.

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It’s nice to visit. At some point I think she probably won’t remember you. But I’m sure she can in some way appreciate your kindness.

My mom has severe dementia. I try to visit her often.

You might want to talk to staff about what kinds of little treats and presents are appreciated.

You should visit her, and just remember, visiting the sick is a corporal work or mercy, and satisfies God for the temporal punishment due to sin.

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If you’re triggering a psychotic episode when you visit, then consult with the nurses first.

If it’s just ordinary sadness not accompanied by catastrophic behaviors when you leave, then go ahead and visit.

It might not be. It might be a torture for the poor woman.

As an example, when I was an intern, part of my internship was in a nursing home. There was one woman who particular got to me, deep down. She was an elderly Ukrainian woman who had spent time in a Nazi labor camp, and her dementia consisted in her thinking she was back in the camp. If anything startled her, she would shout out “Nicht schiessen”, which means “Don’t shoot” in German. Every day, I would bring here milk and cookies, and she would kiss my hands and thank me, because she thought I was a fellow prisoner who was being kind to her.

Her son was a doctor, and was actually born in the labor camp. He was also one of the teachers at our medical school. One time, I got a not from him telling me to come to his office. He told me that he had heard about my kindness to his mother, and thanked me for it. He said he hasn’t been able to visit her in years because each visit is a torture for both of them. So sometimes, mercy consists of not visiting the sick, even your own mother. You have to use your prudential judgment.


Never mind the staff. What would Jesus want you to do?

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I think Jesus would want you to consult the staff.


Uhm, if you have a patient who is triggered into psychotic behaviors such as screaming, public disrobing, flinging poop, hitting other residents and compulsive sexual behaviors by visits from certain persons, you’re not doing anybody a favor by visiting…
Check with the staff

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It doesn’t even have to be that extreme. Even if all they do is get upset, it can take nurses a while to calm them down.

I would talk to the nursing staff about visits.

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I would definitely try to visit her, but do check with the staff. She may or may not recognize you. It could evoke positive or negative responses, but either way that would fade away.

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I used to work in a nursing home, and when I got a new job, one of my residents kept asking for me to come see her through coworkers. I visited her, but was advised that as soon as I noticed that she no longer remembered me right off the bat when I arrived, I should start to slowly stop going in order to avoid confusing her more. So long as she remembers you, knows who you are, and your presence doesn’t confuse her more, I think it’s a lovely thing for you to go. Nursing homes are terribly lonely places, and even when the staff may be good and loving, they can never take the place of people who are truly known and loved by the residents.

Go see her. Do little things with great love.

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