Are chaotic family visits good or bad for a patient with dementia?


My dad lives alone and gets lonely. Had a fall and is currently in a transitional facility to get stronger. He's confused about why he is there and denies falling. He has no short term memory. My brother and his family are visiting in multiples. Tonight there were 7 people in his little room. They are boisterous people with good intentions. They think this is stimulating for him. Is family chaos OK or should I ask them to keep the group size smaller in visits?



Seven people are at lot of people in a resident's room. Often there are not enough places for everyone to sit. Also a large group of people can confuse someone who has hearing loss or has dementia as the person may not be able to determine what the other people are saying.

My Mom's nursing home has private dining rooms that the family can "reserve" for 2 hours or so. We have reserved both the small 4-person "Parlors" and the larger "Family Dining Room" for meals or get-togethers with Mom. There are also "Alcoves" that have sofas and soft chairs where people can gather. When we visit Mom, we limit each visit to 2-3 hours and then return later in the day for another 2-3 hours after our Mom has had a nap or some "down-time". Check with your Dad's facility and see if they have "Family Rooms" where residents can visit with large groups of family or friends.

Watch your Dad's facial expressions and behaviors, when he starts to look tired, gets upset /frustrated / more confused; or if he attempts to leave the room to get away from the visitors, that is time for the visitors to leave (for now.) They can always come back later in the day.
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Reply to DeeAnna

I have to agree with a bit of everything stated.

You know the person better. And with dementia it can be overwhelming. I know that the older I get, I find that one on one is better for me.
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Reply to Lostinthemix

Yes, his family is overwhelming him. Does he share a room? If so they r disturbing his roommate too. I like the idea of the staff telling them the fewer the people the better and short visits.

You may want to consider an AL. Your Dad needs more care than independent living.
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Reply to JoAnn29

People who normally you wouldn't see within 10 miles of your LO if they're
healthy, and suddenly show up at the hospital to visit--drives me NUTS.

Having just done 2 hospital stays with DH after 2 heart attacks--people could visit, but wow, did I discourage it. He was mostly asleep and sometimes they'd wake him up...and he was so grouchy and ill.

A card, an email or text..that's all he cared about. Random visitors filling his tiny hospital room was not fun nor relaxing at ALL.

Personally, other than IMMEDIATE LOVING FAMILY who are a part of my daily life, I don't want to see or talk to ANYONE when I'm down.
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Reply to Midkid58

My husband always wants more activity for my dad, who lives with us and is stage 6. I dread the two day recovery, during which dad is quiet, sad, and confused (more than baseline confusion.) It's easier for my husband because he leaves for work and I'm the one doing the caretaking. I know it's well intentioned. It's just frustrating. I think less is more.
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Reply to Amycaring

From the tone of your question I think you already know the answer, don't you?

One to one is best. It is very hard for a person with dementia, possibly hearing loss too?, to cope with more than one conversation going on at a time.

Stimulation is very good for him, family contact is of course beneficial and welcome, but more than two or three people in the room at once will just make his head spin, poor chap. Lavish praise on the visitors, ask them to keep it simple for him.
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Reply to Countrymouse

Agree with Willie ask staff if the visits are causing problems for dad. If so, ask staff to address it with family and let them know that you will support their decision. Not a good idea for you to tell family.
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Reply to gladimhere

I don't think we can make a blanket statement one way or the other because all people with dementia are individuals and their personalities are different. Maybe you need to ask the staff how he is handling the visits, they are the ones who will notice if there is any negative fall out.
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Reply to cwillie

how long will he be in the facility?
maybe just bite your tongue if its not too much longer.

I would hate to be the one to tell family to be quiet or to come with less people. idk some people freak out when you politely ask.....

~~BUT I do agree with you. people with dementia can be overwhelmed pretty quick~~
(my mom would never say she was overwhelmed,but I can tell by her facial expression)

maybe you could say you heard the neighboring rooms have very sensitive ears and everyone needs to 'hold it down' a little ?
or say you need a break and if everyone could come two at a time each day. so its spread out?(does that make sense)

sometimes in big crowds, everyone ends up talking to each other and the old person gets left out. because there is no "one on one" :(
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Reply to wally003

Others will come and add so much more to answer your question. But I think you are correct about the over stimulation, which can lead to agitation, confusion, when instead a reasonably quiet life can be therapeutic.
Friends, social activity can be found in Assisted Living, people their age.

We're the rowdy family visiting when he was lonely, at home? Maybe these are guilt visits?
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Reply to Sendhelp