Moving a parent to a memory care community can be a difficult decision to make. Families need to address many details to facilitate a smooth transition. Keep reading for tips on helping parents in the transition to memory care.
Steps Before Move-In Day
Research the best communities for parents. Talk to family, friends, physicians, and caretakers to obtain recommendations for nearby communities. Research amenities, activities, environment, and care provided in each community. Families should also understand community policies and procedures, security, and available treatments. Each community is unique and has its advantages.
There are essential steps before moving a parent into memory care living. Seniors with dementia may feel overwhelmed by too many voices and opinions, so it helps to have a script that all family members follow. This script should be a comforting, straightforward response to prevent seniors from becoming disoriented. Families should be succinct, and everyone needs to use the same wording. Something simple like “You’re going to a new home” is a great message to repeat.
Because packing can be emotionally difficult for a parent with dementia, children should plan to pack when the parent is sleeping, at an appointment, or away from the house. In addition to clothing and necessities, families should pack their parents’ personal items and sentimental decorations. When residents come into a new room and see their things, it eases the anxiety. Consider asking parents which items they would like to take with them. This helps them feel they are active in the transition to a senior living community.
Always provide staff members with information about the new resident before move-in day. Let them know the parents’ background and any special needs they might have. Families should provide the staff with a medical and mental health history and a medication list.
Visit the home several times before move-in day. Visiting provides seniors comfort and familiarity that will be important on move-in day. Sometimes, some new staff can provide care in the old apartment or home to make the transition smooth.
Families should plan to do the bulk of the unpacking for parents. As families unpack, the seniors can explore the community and adjust to the new environment. Sometimes it can be helpful to move when the community has an activity that your parent enjoy, like an art class, bingo, or singing.
If parents are concerned or want to come home, families need to let the loved one know they understand this is a difficult transition and they’ll be there to provide support. Remind them this is a safe and beneficial place for them to live, and encourage them to take advantage of the new surroundings.
At memory care in Fresno, CA, families should have a conversation with the staff. The staff members should discuss how they plan to help the senior transition and how they will give the family updates. Always be grateful and supportive to the community staff as they care for loved ones.
After the Move
Families need to monitor how their parents are adapting to the new community. Transitioning takes time. Regular visits and communication through phone calls are essential. Seniors need to recognize that their loved ones may become disoriented or hostile and ask to come home. Consider using music to reduce stress and anxiety. Seniors may opt to bring a small CD player or radio to help them relax while in their new environment.
Morning visits are usually better than evening ones, as most residents are more alert in the mornings. Family members should try to participate in activities and meals with their parents in the community. This can help keep seniors from being as emotional, and because there is a clear end to the activity, it can make goodbyes easier.
Once the move is complete, families should not waiver from their decision. The family must stay the course, even when their loved one complains or wants to go home. Children should remember the reasons they placed their parents in the community and that it is a secure, safe, and appropriate place for them.
Moving to a new home is difficult for anyone. It is difficult for an elderly loved one with dementia. Following these tips will help the family and parent transition more easily into their new memory care community.
Summerfield of Fresno is an assisted living and memory care community offering spacious studio apartments and amenities to make seniors feel at home. We offer living suites and respite care with skilled, friendly, and compassionate team members. We provide personalized service for every resident, including family-style meals, social activities, laundry, housekeeping, and an in-house beauty salon.