Moving a parent with dementia into the right living setting can be a daunting process. Depending on their disease’s severity, you may find yourself feeling very frustrated and scared and a slew of other emotions. But that’s ok! You’re not alone.
We have some tips that may help you manage that transition of moving your parent with dementia into a place that will help them and care for them the way they need. Always remember that. Follow these tips to make the situation a little easier for everyone.
- Do Your Research!
You want to find the perfect place for your loved one. Doing extensive research can be daunting and overwhelming, but in the end, you’ll be glad you covered all of your bases. To narrow things down, search first for those that offer memory care and primarily focused on dementia patients of all levels. Second, look at visitation policies to ensure you can visit them when you want or need to. Keep notes of any emails or phone calls you have with each location, so you have a well-detailed plan when you want to compare them and make a decision.
- Start The Conversation Early
Unfortunately, dementia worsens over time. So, if you want to have your parent in the conversation, or at least want them to transition easier, start that conversation about moving early on. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to make a smooth transition and explain what is happening. Plus, it’s always better to plan ahead!
- Know That This Transition Can be Difficult
This might be a tough time for everyone involved. Know that you’re going to hit some snags, and any transition with anyone—but especially someone with dementia—can be challenging. But know that these care facilities are there to help guide you through, and it’s ok to lean on them for the support!
- Look for Those Specializing in Memory Care
For your loved one with dementia, you may find it essential to find a place that makes memory care a special unit, and is a priority for them. The last thing you want is for your loved one to get lost in the shuffle of a nursing home that does not cater to their specific needs. However, memory care will not be at every location, so more than anything, make sure you look for a community that can care for your parent’s current needs that also allows them to continue to age in place as their specific disease progresses.
- Visit Together
If you can, bring your parent along to visit the locations. If you can introduce them early on to their potential new home, it can make moving that much easier.
- Attend Events on Your Own Beforehand
Before you ever decide on a place, ask if they will allow you to attend some of their activities so you can see if your parent will like it when they live there.
- Move During Their Best Time of Day
Those with dementia can be very sensitive to mood swings depending on the time of day. If they are experiencing sundowning, which means getting more aggressive and angry in the evenings, then try to do showings and the actual move during the afternoon before dark. Too early can also be a difficult time for those with dementia, so finding that sweet spot to move in their good time of day is essential.
- Fill Their Room with Their Favorite Things
Placing their favorite, familiar things around their new room can ease the transition. It should be a familiar space with the things they enjoy. Put their favorite pillow on their bed and their favorite pictures right in sight.
- Activity Box
Living in a small room can be a significant change if they are moving from a larger home with more space to do things. So ensuring they have something to do in their small room like a craft or puzzle can ward off feelings of loneliness or depression.
- Dolls and Stuffed Animals Can Help Loneliness
Adults with dementia can get quite lonely. But they’ve shown to be quite responsive to baby dolls or stuffed animals as little companions they can hold and snuggle with.
- Collages and Books with Family Members
Stretch your crafting muscles and make some collages or photo books with all of the family members in them. You can put pictures plus their name next to it to easily identify and remember their loved ones. They may even get a chance to brag about their beautiful families to their new neighbors.
- Downsize and Simplify Their Stuff
Don’t bring too much stuff! Moving can be stressful enough without having more clutter. Keeping things simple, neat, and tidy can be critical to making sure the move is as stress-free as possible.
- Work Closely With Their Existing and New Counselors
Don’t think you need to do this all alone. If they move from one location to another, it can be beneficial to create seamless communication between their current nursing staff or counselors and their new staff. They can all work closely together to ensure all of their needs are being met, and the transition is as seamless as possible.
- Be Flexible (PTO, Scheduling the Move)
Around the time of the move, you and your family will want to be flexible and probably take the day off. You may hit any number of snags or delays, and it’s vital that you can be there for your mom or dad during the transition. It may even be helpful to take a few days off so you can help them get unpacked and settled and visit for a few days while they acclimate.
- Give Them Reassurance and Plenty of Time to Settle
During that transitional period, you might get some pushback, and you may find your parent to be having a tough time. Change can be quite drastic to those who have dementia, and it’s important to continue to reassure them (and yourself) and give them plenty of time. They will adjust eventually, but those first few days are going to be tough.
- Don’t Feel Ashamed; It’s for the Best.
Children of elderly parents sometimes struggle with feelings of regret and shame when they have to move their parents into a memory care place. It’s important to know that the care they will receive in that community is far superior to anything they could get in home-care. They will get the therapy they need and activities and full-time attention. It’s the best thing for them! You did the right thing.
And last but not least, be patient and know any complicated feelings are temporary. Making a move to the right assisted living place is the first step to a long journey that will help alleviate your parent’s difficulties with dementia. And trust us, if you follow these tips, you’re going to eliminate a lot of stress and worry with the move.
Know that if you move your parent into Sunflower Communities, they will be welcomed with open arms, comprehensive memory care services, and all of the therapies and activities they need to thrive. We can even provide furnished rooms to make the move even easier for everyone. Contact us here to get started!