Moving a parent to an assisted living facility is never easy.
It’s an emotional time for everyone involved.
Packing belongings evokes old memories and stirs up buried emotions. When someone moves to an assisted living facility, they’re closing one chapter of their life to begin another.
Transitioning from a state of independence to assisted living is hard for many people to accept – even if they know deep down it’s the right choice to make.
When it comes to helping a parent with dementia or memory loss, moving into an assisted living facility can help ensure their safety and quality of life.
Still, it’s never easy.
When Should an Alzheimer’s Patient Go to an Assisted Living Community?
You aren’t alone.
Many people find themselves wondering “when should an Alzheimer’s patient go to an assisted living community?” Keep your parent’s wellbeing in mind always.
Remember, your goal is to keep them safe and comfortable.
When is it Time for Memory Care?
Although it’s never an easy decision to make or a comfortable conversation to have, here are some signs that your parent might be ready for memory care or dementia assisted living:
- They’re experiencing debilitating levels of stress and chronic anxiety.
- They’re experiencing increased aggression, irritability, or sundowner’s syndrome (excessive agitation in the evenings).
- They’re wandering or disappearing suddenly and unexpectedly.
- Their forgetfulness poses a danger such as leaving the stove on.
- Their current caregiver is overworked and unable to meet all your parent’s needs.
- Their needs are increasing due to medical complications or other conditions such as diabetes.
Tips for Helping a Parent with Dementia or Memory Loss Transition to Assisted Living
You can’t control emotions or the reality of your situation.
You can, however, take certain factors into consideration to make the process a little smoother and less emotionally taxing for everyone involved.
1. Assemble a Team
You can’t do this alone and you’ll need all the help you can get. Contact siblings, spouses, and children along with other family members and loved ones. Delegate people to tasks such as visiting potential facilities, helping to pack, conducting the move, grocery shopping, bookkeeping, and setting up activities.
Try to coordinate with skills and personalities in mind. Who is best for lending emotional support? Who could provide physical labor for the move? This will ensure everyone can participate in the best way possible for a smooth transition.
2. Stay Patient at all Costs
Packing belongings go hand-in-hand with nostalgia so set aside plenty of time for the move itself. Be patient as you help your parent pack. Let them reminisce about happier times and lend a nonjudgmental ear. Listen to their concerns while staying respectful and supportive.
Everyone has shortcomings and sometimes family members don’t get along as well as you’d like them to – such is life. Coordinate the move with this in mind. If some relatives have a quick temper or irritable personality, they might work best behind the scenes. This will help keep the atmosphere friendly and warm.
3. Fill Their New Home with Familiar Items
Try your best to arrange their new home in a familiar manner. Put their favorite books and blankets in the right space and organize the living area just as it was at their old home.
It will be easier for your parent to adjust to their new home if it at least somewhat resembles their previous residence and has all the same comforts.
4. Keep New Items to a Minimum
It can be tempting to rush out and buy all the latest and greatest appliances and home furnishings. This, however, is a big mistake.
Think about it: would you want someone to move you into a new home and get rid of all your belongings? As always, ask your parent what they’re comfortable with before replacing old items – even if you have good intentions in your mind.
5. Encourage Activities and Get Involved Yourself
Most assisted living facilities offer a wide array of social activities including outings, arts and crafts, physical exercise, and more. Try your best to encourage they sign up. If they’re reluctant, offer to partake in the activities with them.
6. Plan a Visiting Schedule
Keep your parent’s personality and needs in mind at all times. Some people may need a period of alone time as they adjust to their new home while others may need weekly or daily visits as they accept their new surroundings. Coordinate visits with other supportive family members and friends.
7. Don’t Run from Emotions
Everyone handles difficult emotions differently. Allow your parent to express themselves in a healthy way. Listen to their feelings and don’t write them off.
There will be instances where you get frustrated yourself. Hold back as much as you can and release that emotion in healthy ways instead of lashing out.
8. Stay Flexible
As with any move, things won’t go according to plan. The dining room may not serve your parent’s favorite dish, or their room may not be cleaned quite to their liking. Keep a flexible attitude to roll with the punches as they arise.
9. Always be Emotionally Available
When your parent calls for the tenth time this week to complain or hear a friendly voice, be available. If it gets to be too much, encourage other family members to get more involved.
Make sure you don’t take any anger or frustration out on your parent – this move is difficult enough for them as it is. Listen to their concerns and help them feel validated.
Entrust of DeSoto: Memory Care and Dementia Assisted Living in Dallas, Texas
Entrust of DeSoto provides resident-centered memory care and assisted living. Our wellness programs nourish the body, mind and soul.
We provide 24-hour individualized care for individuals including assistance with activities of daily living, home cooked meals, and a wide variety of activities for intergenerational social interaction. If you live near Dallas, Texas and you’re helping a parent suffering with dementia, contact Entrust of DeSoto today or stop by for a visit to find out how we can help.