Tips for Helping Your Loved One Transition to Living in a Memory Care Center
There is nothing easy about moving a loved one into a memory care center.
It’s likely you’ve reached this decision after many weeks or months of careful consideration and you are approaching the big day with a quiet dread.
After all, this person is a major part of your life, and you feel like you are giving up on them. If making this decision is this hard for you, how will they take it when moving day finally comes?
Read on for some tips that will help ease the transition for your loved one, and for you.
When Do you Consider a Memory Care Center?
- Your loved one is not taking prescribed medications on time or fails to use proper hygiene.
- Your loved one suffers falls frequently.
- He or she has been wandering and must be watched at all times.
- Your loved one is getting frequent Urinary Tract Infections or has lost control of their bowels.
- Your loved one’s behavior is unpredictable in public and at home, they experience “sundowners” symptoms, where agitation increases as the day goes by.
Once you have finally decided the move to a memory care center is the best option for your loved one, do not wavier.
Do not feel ashamed.
Sometimes even close friends and family members will criticize you. They are not caring for a memory challenged person. They do not fully understand the issues you face.
Caring for a dementia patient is an exhausting job that is full of stress. Many caregivers experience emotional burn-out that lasts sometimes years after the patient has passed.
If your loved one has become increasingly confused or agitated lately, that is a sign that you have made the right decision.
Plan Wisely for the Move
Avoid telling your loved one about the move.
Generally, by the time they need 24-hour care, people with Alzheimer’s or Dementia can no longer identify they have a problem. There is enough pain in the decision without creating chaos by telling them before move-in day.
Don’t try to prepare them. They do not need to be included in the planning or packing as decisions that involve problem-solving or multiple steps can be troublesome for those with memory loss. Make sure to pack things for the move outside of their view in order to avoid anxiety.
Pack lightly. People never need as many things as they think they will. Pack the basics, and you can always add to your loved one’s belongings later.
You do not want to overwhelm them with too many choices, especially when it comes to clothing. Include a few of their favorite knick-knacks and items that bring them comfort, but keep the load light overall.
Make several visits to the memory care center before you admit your loved one. Stay for as long as they need to get comfortable in what will ultimately become their home. Introduce them to staff and other residents, show them where activities are located, and ease them into their new surroundings.
When it comes time to actually make the big move, schedule it for their best time of day. For example, if they are clear-minded in the morning and more forgetful come afternoon, plan to get there early so they can be settled in later in the day.
Use Your Resources
There are trained professionals at the facility who can guide you through this transition. Don’t be afraid to seek their services.
Care center staff are invaluable for help explaining the new living situation to your family member. They have been through move-ins many times before and they know the best way to soothe agitation in dementia patients.
Be sure to share your loved one’s story with staff so they can get a better idea of who they were before they came to the facility. Let them know what your loved one’s favorite daily activities are. Give them some insight so they can make the environment one of welcoming and safety.
Respite stays are also an excellent way to slowly introduce your loved one to the idea of living in a memory care facility full-time. Even if they do not fully remember the times they spent at the facility, the familiar sounds, smells, and faces will give them comfort when they finally do move in.
Create a Soothing Space
Most memory care facilities allow people to bring their own belongings from home to decorate their rooms. This is one of the most important ways you can ease your loved one’s transition. Focus on recreating the space they are currently living in. Seeing familiar things from home will make them feel more comfortable on moving day.
Use favorite blankets and throws for the bed and chair. Bring a potted plant, a familiar scented candle, perhaps. Bring their favorite books and any sentimental items. Make a wall of photos of family and friends. Try to arrange for comfort dishes from home to be served the first few days.
There are many creative ways to bring a little bit of that home feeling into the facility for your loved one.
Once you have settled them in, it is best not to visit for a week to ten days in order to give your loved on ample time to adjust to their new surroundings.
It may seem a little cruel, but coming to visit too soon can create confusion and outbursts. Give them some time to learn new routines and get to know their new friends. Soon they will be right at home in the memory care center, and you can visit all you want.
Be prepared for bad days with complaints, negative comments, and meltdowns. Have a simple explanation ready for questions, and continually remind your loved one that you only want what is best for them.
Above all, remain positive and provided gentle reassurance.
Here at Seasons Memory Care, we know that this is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make. We want you to know that you are not alone.
We are here to make the transition into memory care a smooth one.
Contact us today and let’s plan your loved one’s future together.