Moving a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease into Memory Care

In-home dementia and Alzheimer’s care can provide much needed relief for caregivers. But as your loved one’s memory declines, he or she may eventually need a higher level of care than you can provide at home, even with outside help.

At some point, your family may decide it’s time to move a parent with Alzheimer’s into a memory care community.

Moving is never easy, but it can be especially stressful for a person with Alzheimer’s or another disorder causing dementia. The unfamiliar new surroundings and change of routine can be quite disruptive.

If you’re helping a parent or other loved one transition into a memory care facility, here are some ways to make the move more comfortable and put their mind (and yours) at ease.

Recognize that the transition may be challenging.

A reputable memory care facility will provide your loved one with a range of enriching daily activities and may even facilitate fun outings. But with this higher level of care, the transition to a residential setting can be challenging.

Be prepared for bad days and setbacks. Early on, your loved one may seem angry, depressed, anxious, or withdrawn at times. They might make negative comments or express dissatisfaction with their new circumstances.

Try to keep this in perspective. Your loved one’s frustration doesn’t mean you or your family made the wrong decision.

It’s important to listen without judgment and be supportive when your loved one is feeling anxious or uncertain. Take their comments to heart and make changes when possible. In time, they should settle into their new routine and surroundings.

Validate your loved one’s feelings.

If your loved one is pushing back or refuses to move, your instinct may be to try and reason with them and explain why moving into memory care makes sense. But it’s important to listen patiently and not dismiss your loved one’s concerns.

Moving can feel like a loss of control for many people. Be understanding in your replies, i.e. “I can see why you’re concerned about that. We’ll figure it out, and I’ll make sure you have everything you need.”

Don’t try to convince your loved one they’ll love everything about their new living arrangements. Simply empathize and let them know you’ll be there for them.

Work with memory care staff to ease the transition.

Get involved with the counselors and managers at the memory care facility to help ensure your loved one has a smooth transition.

Provide staff with as much information as possible in advance about your loved one—their background, medical and mental health history, any special needs, and details about their preferences. This information will help the memory care staff better anticipate and accommodate your loved one’s needs.

Pack for your family member.

If your loved one is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, involving them in decisions about what to pack can be upsetting and frustrating. They may become easily overwhelmed.

Packing can be an emotionally turbulent process, especially when it comes to personal items and sentimental objects.

To minimize anxiety, panic, and outbursts, pack for your loved one while they are away or asleep. It may be tempting to bring all sentimental items, but keep in mind that space will be limited. Most people pack more than their loved one will need. Remember, you can always bring additional items to your loved one later.

Choose the best time of day to make the move.

To minimize stress for both you and your loved one and ensure a successful transition, schedule the timing of their move to coincide with the time of day when they’re at their best.

If your loved one is at her best in the late morning, plan to arrive at the facility during those hours. This will allow you to get them settled in when they have more energy and are in high spirits.

Personalize your loved one’s new living space.

You can help make your loved one’s new space feel like home with thoughtful touches. Incorporate your loved one’s favorite decorations and most cherished personal items before the move, if possible. When your loved one walks in and sees familiar items, it can instantly ease anxiety.

Just be careful not to clutter the space. Start with a few of their most beloved items, such as a few wall pictures, a favorite quilt, knick-knacks, or photo album.

In-Home Care Can Help Ease the Transition

Whether you’re still deciding on memory care for your loved one or are in the process of researching facilities, an in-home caregiver can provide vital respite for you during the process.

A professional caregiver can look after your loved one while you plan their transition into memory care. This frees up your time to take care of important matters and gives you a chance to rest and recuperate from the demands of caregiving.

Care To Stay Home offers professional in-home respite care services delivered by compassionate caregivers. We offer a range of specialty services, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

Get in touch for a free assessment and for more information about our home care services at 509-775-6789.