When your loved one is living with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, regular life tasks can become more challenging for you and for them. This challenge carries over for more complex tasks, such as any type of transition. When it is time to move to dementia care, the transition should be handled with as much care, planning, and compassion as possible in order to make it a success.
Here is what you need to know to make the move to dementia care as pleasant and comfortable for your loved one as possible.
Coordinate with the Community
First and foremost, ensure you are communicating well with your loved one’s new dementia care community. You should feel they are supportive throughout the moving planning process. They can help you with everything from directing you to senior-friendly moving companies to information about downsizing.
Bring Your Loved One for a Visit
If possible, involve your loved one in life at the dementia care community well before their planned move. See if your loved one can attend lunch there one day, or if they can participate in the Friday afternoon socials for the month leading up to their move. This practice can not only allow staff members to get to know your loved one, but it can also ease the stress of the transition for you as well.
Talk to the Doctor
Before your loved one officially moves into their new community, ensure you have informed their physician. This makes the assessment process much easier for the community and will start off communication on the right foot.
Bring Familiar Comfort Items
When packing, make sure you include familiar comfort items such as a favorite quilt, blouse, or slippers. A few photo albums or framed pictures can also bring comfort, though choosing ones that are from the past could have an even more positive effect on your loved one’s mood and memory.
Take a Minimalist Approach
When it comes to furniture and decorations for your loved one’s new apartment, consider taking a minimalist approach. First, coordinate with the new community to take measurements of the new living space. Remember that too many pieces of furniture can actually make a space feel smaller and create a fall risk by cluttering main pathways. Choose to bring along furniture and decorations that are familiar and will make the space feel like home without causing any issues down the road.
During the Move
When moving day arrives, you might find it beneficial to divide and conquer responsibilities. For example, perhaps you can assist the moving company while your sister takes your loved one out to lunch. It is best if your loved one arrives at their new home with it fully set up, looking welcoming and lovely.
Communicate During the Transition
Even the smoothest move can still be challenging for a senior living with dementia. A phenomenon called “transition trauma” is quite real and can cause periods of increased confusion, frustration, or aggression in the months following a move. This is upsetting for family members, and understandably so. However, you can put yourself at ease by staying in communication with the memory care community. Ask for regular updates and listen to their advice on the best time to visit. Remember, your loved one will be settled in sooner than you might expect.
Become a Part of the Community
Your loved one’s new dementia care community is their new home, so feel free to get involved! Attend family events when possible and take advantage of the expertise of the staff members or support groups on-site. You’ll find you get to know the staff members and other residents as you build your unique new extended family.
Ready to start looking for dementia care for your loved one? Download our free guide, “Finding a Safe and Comfortable Senior Living Community” to learn more about the ins and outs of senior living. You’ll discover the differences in options as well as how to make the most of your next tour.