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Ease the Move to Memory Care

July 20, 2022
Categories: News | Caregiver Support

How to Ease Mom or Dad to Memory Care

Watching a parent loved one’s dementia symptoms progress to the point they need ongoing support isn’t for the faint of heart. By the time you reach the decision that your loved one should transition to a Memory Care community, you’re probably an old pro at anticipating and accommodating your loved one’s needs.

Even so, you may welcome a bit of advice on how to transition to Memory Care with minimal disruption to your mom or dad or other loved one. After all, it’s a big change and a departure from familiar routines. A thoughtful and loving approach will help ease the move and ensure a smooth transition to help your loved one settle more comfortably into their new environment.

Lead with Compassion

While you may be navigating your own flood of emotions surrounding the transition, it’s a safe bet mom or dad is feeling some of that energy, too. Offering confident reassurance about transitioning to a Memory Care community can go a long way toward helping them feel more safe and secure.

Explain the move in simple, positive terms that reinforce support and love. Incorporate descriptive words that engage your loved one’s senses (mention specific smells, sounds and décor, for example). Acknowledge any worries they voice and avoid the temptation to correct or argue. Instead, offer encouragement and support and shift attention to a more positive topic.

When it comes to the actual act of packing belongings, recognize this may be a traumatic experience that leaves your loved one feeling disoriented and confused. Rather than having them watch precious possessions being packed away out of sight, try to pack when your loved one’s attention is elsewhere, or even while they’re sleeping or away from the house.

During and after the transition, know your loved one may be resistant to the change and settling in may take some time. Listen to their complaints and validate any concerns, while also talking with community associates about how to overcome problems that arise.  

Know What to Bring

Work closely with members of the care team at the community you’ve selected to understand what possessions your loved one should bring and what things they’ll need to leave behind. Familiar furnishings and personal items that stimulate beloved memories, such as framed photos and picture albums, are good choices. You might consider creating a memory box that helps stimulate the senses, triggers memories, and even piques neighbors’ curiosity to help your loved one make new friends.

Also think about the cues they relied on at home and be sure to incorporate those into their new home. For example, if you used labels to help them identify things at home, do the same in their new setting. Remember, too many options can be overwhelming, so err toward a “less is more” approach, and know you can always bring items your loved one is requesting during an upcoming visit.

Create a Transition Timeline

You’ve probably noticed how your loved one thrives on routines and consistency. Accommodating those routines — even on a big day when there are lots of moving parts — can help keep their mind at peace so you don’t add confusion to the process. Follow a typical morning routine to start the day, and work with the care team at the new  community to incorporate familiar, comforting bedtime rituals so your loved one sleeps peacefully.

Getting organized for the move itself can also help things go more smoothly. Make it your goal to have all the last-minute to-do’s complete by the time moving day arrives. That way you can focus greater energy on soothing your loved one, and spend less time managing details like packing or gathering belongings.

Rely on Community Resources

If they haven’t already, the staff at your new Memory Care community will become an extension of your family. Take advantage of opportunities to meet with members of the care team and others who will be interacting with your loved one to help them get to know what makes your loved one tick. Talk about likes and dislikes, family and hobbies, favorite foods and music, so they begin to know and appreciate your loved one as a person.

Some communities have a specific approach that guides this process. For example, at Artis Senior Living, the Director of The Artis Way Experience serves an important role in advocating for residents and communicating with families so everyone who cares for your loved one knows their preferences and passions.

Get in touch to learn more about The Artis Way and how our approach facilitates a smooth transition so mom or dad feel empowered and engaged from the start.

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