Moving house is always stressful for anyone, but for persons with dementia, this process can especially confusing and even traumatic. Dementia is a condition such that the memory loss experienced causes them to process information differently and thus can have strong reactions to switches in environment, especially if they are moving out of a home they have lived in for years. Other than physical toll, moving can take an emotional toll on both the patient and the family.
So how can families like us help minimize the relocation stress our loved ones experience upon moving to memory care communities in Hiawassee, GA? Here are some tips for making the transition smoother.
Keep The Familiar
Shifting to memory care already means having to part with everything they are familiar with. Although it sounds nice to buy your parent new furniture and home decorations to help them welcome this new chapter in their life, it would actually be better to keep their new living space as close to what their homes looked like. You can bring over their favorite armchair, family photos, or their favorite quilt/comforter. Having familiar items in their apartment suite will make them feel at home.
Empower and Respect Your Loved One
With such a big choice, it is easy to rush into making the necessary decision without speaking to our parents first. But as the beneficiary of this whole move is ultimately your loved ones, it is important that you consult them on their opinions and have them play an active role in decision making. This would include choosing the community, type of apartment suite, realtor to sell their home and choosing which belongings to bring along to their new place. This will allow them to feel that they still have control over their life.
Choose The Right Community
Although this might go without saying, but it is vital that your family understands the needs of your parents and the different types of care offered by retirement communities as not all that is offered would suit persons with memory loss. Assisted living is for independent adults who require assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) such as bathing and dressing. However, unless the assisted living option is designed for memory care, it will not have the specialized care that memory care living options have which would include 24/7 supervision, anti-wandering systems and more.
Maintain Constant Communication with Staff
The team members will be the one spending the most time interacting with and caring for your loved one. Having more knowledge of your parent’s individual needs and preferences would help them better serve and care for them. This is especially so for persons with cognitive conditions as their conditions differ from person-to-person and they mostly are unable to communicate their needs well. Family members play an important role in bridging this communication gap and helping the team members understand what exactly it is the team members can provide for the resident. The first few months up to the first year of moving to memory care will be especially hard, so it would be good for families to speak to team members before the move and have constant communication throughout this period.