Moving to a new home can be challenging and exciting all at the same time, but for family members and caretakers who need to move a relative or patient with dementia to a care facility, relocating and changing the routine can be a stressful challenge.
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There are many things to consider prior to, during, and after relocating older adults with dementia, including, the fact that this move will be to an unfamiliar environment. This alone can cause confusion, stress, and anxiety. But, there are things you can do to help make the process easier, safer, and much less stressful for everyone involved.
Three Tips To Make Transitioning To A Care Facility Easier
1. Plan Ahead to Remove Moving Day Stress
To minimize confusion, family members of the person suffering with dementia should set up a meeting and discuss the things that will be needed on your end as well as your relatives end, and remember to consider the habits and things that the person with dementia enjoys.
Use objects and things that are familiar to the person with dementia in their new atmosphere to make them feel more comfortable such as:
- Favorite music
- Favorite easy chair
- Familiar decorations
Doing these things can make the transition easier for the person with dementia, as well as, putting markers or labels around to help to familiarize the person with their new surroundings.
If at all possible, it is important to try to have a conversation with the person living with dementia in reference to the things that they would prefer for their living arrangements while they are still able to make logical decisions.
Just as you would want the truth, be sure to be honest and provide all the information that you have in reference to their new environment so that they are able to make some decisions during the process, and it allows them to feel in charge somewhat. However, if they become resistant or angry, pull back and get advice from other family members or their primary physician for assistance in explaining that the move would be best for them.
It is also important to have a conversation with the staff at the care facility about the person's:
- Mental health history
- Detailed medication list
2. Give Them Choices and Respect Their Decisions
If that person is a part of the moving and decision-making, then it's more likely than not that the move could be quite a bit easier. The last thing you want to do is make the person living with dementia feel forced or pressured, that outcome may not end so well.
You want the person to trust you, and not be suspicious of you—so don't betray their trust and involve them in the relocation process as much as you possibly can as being able to make some choices gives them a sense of control over their own lives and this can make the process easier.
However, don't force them to make choices if they seem to be annoyed or overwhelmed with the thought of making such decisions. Some people with dementia may even get confused and upset just hearing about moving, and that could trigger stress for them. Some families have found it helpful to tell the person with dementia that relocating is their doctor's orders.
3. Familiarize Them With the New Space Ahead of Time
Prior to the relocation, make their new space as familiar as possible to them. Sure, the layout and overall atmosphere will be different, but, if you put things that are familiar to them inside their room, the transition can be easier for them to adjust to.
Consider their favorite chair, photos, recordings of their favorite songs, or whatever it is that they love, make sure it's already there when they move in. Recognizable items can spark emotions of belonging and ownership, and can even boost their sense of security.
Do not argue or show frustration or annoyance with the person, and stay positive during the move. Once you've got them all settled in, let the staff know anything they need to know and trust that they will take good care of your loved one when you're not there.
If the person with dementia has recently been hospitalized or is sick, consider rescheduling the move, if possible, as this may make the move too overwhelming for them. Instead, make sure that they are balanced and in a good space, mentally.
Jacaranda Trace is a luxury retirement community located in beautiful Venice, Florida. Jacaranda Trace has worked with the Roskamp Institute in researching and treating chronic disorders of the mind.
Jacaranda Trace's Memory Care staff at Cadbury Park has been certified to understand and properly respond to the needs of Residents who are dealing with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other memory challenges, as well as their family's needs.
Contact us today if you're in the process of vetting care facilities for your loved one. We look forward to helping your loved one transition peacefully into their new home, and you can rest assured that we are in full compliance with Covid-19 CDC and CMS guidelines and are proud to say that our neighborhood has remained safe and socially distanced. In the meantime, take a peek at our blog over here.