When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, there’s no way to know how quickly their symptoms may progress. But when you are dealing with memory loss, it’s best to be proactive. Moving them to a senior living community before their memory impairment is too bad might be the best option to pursue.
Moving and Memory Loss
If your family has decided that it’s no longer safe to have a loved one with memory loss living at home, then it is probably time to transition to assisted living.
Signs that your loved one may be ready for an assisted living community include:
- Wandering away from home
- Increasingly agitated behavior
- Incidents of aggression
- Escalated care needs that go beyond your physical abilities
- Worries about safety in the home
Moving a senior loved one into an Indiana assisted living community can help ensure they receive the care they need in a safe environment.
There are a few things you need to know to provide them with a smooth transition into their new surroundings.
Tips for Making a Smooth Move to Assisted Living
Avoiding Transfer Trauma
Transfer trauma is the term that describes the stress an older person may experience when moving to a new environment. Transfer trauma is more common
with people who are in the earlier stages of dementia and is usually temporary. Once they are settled in and feeling safe and comfortable, there is a sense of ease and belonging that allows them to relax.
If transfer trauma is not recognized early on, however, it can create long-term complications like depression, anxiety, isolation and loneliness. Experts recommend preventing the permanent effects of transfer trauma by encouraging new residents to create similar routines to what they did at home. This can mean making their own coffee in the morning, doing their own laundry and making their bed.
It’s not uncommon for people with memory loss to have “good” or “bad” times of day. If your loved one is better in the morning and declines in the afternoons, then be sure to schedule their move to assisted living in the morning. Getting them settled in during their best time of day will help to ease the transition into their new home.
Include the Comforts of Home
Arrange to have your loved one’s living space set up to resemble the current home as closely as possible. Feeling like they already know the lay of the land in their new home can keep it from feeling completely unfamiliar. In fact, it will likely help them feel at home faster.
Also, be sure to hang lots of happy family photos on the walls, proudly display their favorite mementos and keep their favorite throw blanket (even if you think it’s time to get a new one). Being surrounded by loving faces and favorite things can help your loved one adjust to their new home more quickly.
Create a Reminiscence Board
A reminiscence board is a great way to not only help your loved one stay connected with their family history, but to also assist the staff in getting to know them.
You can include photos of friends and family, snapshots of favorite vacations and hobbies or interests along with textual prompts to explain each item. You can arrange to drop off your loved one’s reminiscence board before move in day in order to give the staff extra time to familiarize themselves with your loved one with memory loss.
The Power of a Positive Attitude
Moving a loved one with memory loss into assisted living probably won’t be easy for either of you. But try to stay positive--for them and for yourself. Once you’ve made the choice to move, trust that they are in good hands and try to let go of the guilt you may feel about having to move them out of their home.
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