Significant changes have always been a lot to take on, especially relocating and moving to a new place. It involves a great deal of work, planning, and actual moving, which can take a toll on you both physically and emotionally.
However, sometimes transitioning is the only safe option left, especially for seniors who have dementia like Alzheimer’s disease.
Placing your loved one in a senior memory care facility is a difficult yet necessary decision. As much as you want to care for them, health needs should always be tended to by experts and professionals.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s have a great chance of slowing down the progression of the disease in a health facility specializing in their condition.
Senior memory care offers the right environment and support to patients with dementia. This includes:
- Basic healthcare
- Specialized medical services and therapy
- Security and supervision
- Proper food
- Structured activities
- Living spaces
Transitioning can be hard for everyone, but it is much more challenging for your loved one who is going to be moving into a new environment.
It can be stressful, overwhelming, and sad all at the same time. So, the least that you could do is to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
Here are smart tips on how to help your loved one transition to a memory care facility.
Plan, Prepare and Pack for Them
The planning and preparation process alone is too stressful to handle on one’s own. It is better not to involve your loved one in this rollercoaster process so as not to stress them out even before the transition starts.
Continually asking them what they want and unloading all these decision-making processes unto them can be overwhelming.
So, protect your loved one’s peace by having someone you trust help you with the preparation. Some of the things you need to prepare for include:
- Choosing the best facility
- Packing items (what to take, donate, and dispose of)
- Talking to the facility about your loved one’s needs (e.g., medications and medical appointments)
- Transportation for the actual move
Moreover, opting not to tell them saves them from anticipations anxiety, which can only cause negative feelings to arise.
Familiarity helps people get comfortable in a new environment. So, to ease your loved one’s mind in this transition, make his/her living space as comfortable and as familiar as you can.
Make their new home look, feel, and smell like their old one as much as possible by:
- Decorate the place with everyday items from their old home, such as photographs, curtains, and other furniture.
- Help rearrange their furniture the way they like.
- Label kitchen items and condiments.
- Bring out the hobbies that they loved doing, such as paperback books or knitting sets.
- Stock the fridge with their favorite healthy meals.
- Arrange their clothes the way it is arranged in their old place.
Being surrounded by familiar items will help calm their nerves and relax their mind.
Go Along With Their Routine
Daily routines and schedules help seniors with Alzheimer’s deal with their memory loss.
Building a sense of consistency will eventually result in them doing everyday activities on their own. This helps seniors establish a sense of independence, as well as boost their self-confidence.
So as not to disrupt their routine, make sure that the senior memory care facility knows about your loved one’s schedule ahead of time.
It would also help to arrange their move during their best time of the day without interfering with their daily routine.
You can also help your loved one remember their activities by writing it on a paper and sticking it on the fridge.
Make Daily Visits Before Moving
In some cases, visiting the facility before the moving day helps loved ones adjust to the new environment.
Make frequent visits to the facility with your loved one as often as possible and as long as it is necessary. Slowly introduce it to their schedule then gradually make it an every day trip.
Encourage them to join the community activities or have lunch together with other seniors. Help them slowly adapt to the facility’s schedules, get used to new faces, and be familiar with the place’s floor plan.
Do this until such time that the new community becomes a familiar place of comfort for your loved one.
The first few weeks or months after the move can be challenging for a senior loved one. But you can ease and help their transition by visiting them as often as possible.
Visit them daily and help them get used to the place by accompanying them in every step of the way. Here are some of the things that you can do to stay connected to them:
- Tell other family members and friends to pay a visit every now and then.
- Get in touch with your loved ones through phone calls and video chats.
- Make your visits memorable by doing some activities with them.
- Workaround their schedule and make sure not to interfere with their routine.
It makes a tremendous difference when seniors have a close family member by their side during a crucial moment, such as this transition.
It is essential to spend plenty of time with them, even after they have adjusted to their new life.
Get Professional Help
It is totally fine and normal to get some advice and help from a doctor or a healthcare professional regarding your loved one’s transition.
They can teach you how to handle the situation or have them personally explain the circumstance to your loved one.
There are also transition programs in some senior memory care facilities that help seniors adjust to their new environment. You can capitalize on these programs to help you make this a smooth transition for your loved one.
It is also normal to hear complaints and displeasure from your loved one during the adjustment period. It would be best to respond with compassion and empathy.
Reassure your loved one of their worries and take mental note of their negative comments so that you will know how to help and address their situation correctly.