How to Help Mom or Dad Transition to Memory Care
The transition to memory care can be tough for families to navigate. Strong emotions, confusion, and relationship shifts may play out when moving a loved one into a memory care neighborhood. We can confidently say, from years of experience, that it helps not to go into this transition blindly with mom or dad. Keeping an honest dialogue and having a solid plan in place for the move will make the process easier for all involved. With that said, our Tapestries© Memory Care team in Cape May County has compiled their best advice in order to make the transition process smooth for your loved one, and you.
Have a Simple, Positive Message
Moving to a memory care neighborhood is often disorienting and confusing for your loved one, so it’s important to have a reassuring response in mind that you can repeat to them. Rather than trying to explain what’s happening in detail or everyone giving their own individual responses, have everyone involved stick to a simple response. Some examples are “You’re moving to your new home” or “You’re moving to somewhere you will be safe.” Having conflicting messages can cause distress for your senior loved one, which can be completely avoided by sticking to this method.
Pack Up Privately
It’s best to handle the packing process yourself without the involvement of mom or dad. Pack up their items while they are at an appointment, asleep, or out for the day, as this will minimize distress and anxiety. Work with their memory care advisors to get your loved one’s space as ready as possible before moving day, so that the actual move isn’t too busy and frantic.
Fill their room with their favorite flowers or potted plants, put a picture of your family on the bedside table, and make the space as welcoming and warm as possible so that it reminds them of home.
We recommend packing a few boxes of essentials before moving day (especially sentimental and favorite items that will make your mom or dad feel at home), and have them ready to unpack in their new space to help them settle in faster with minimal disruption.
By asking your loved one where they want a picture hung up, or what they’d like on their bed or bedside table, you can practice good communication techniques and help your loved one gain a sense of control over their new surroundings.
Get to Know the Community
The faster your senior parent becomes familiar with the community, the easier the transition will be. However, that doesn’t mean pushing them out of their comfort zone. Instead, ask the memory care team about different activities going on in the community and find one or two options your parent would be interested in.
Pick a day to move in where everyone on-site is doing something your loved one enjoys, then go with them to participate in the activity together. This is a gentle way to introduce mom or dad to their new neighbors and Memory Care team in a low-pressure situation.
Moving to a new home isn’t easy for anyone, and it’s understandably stressful for families and loved ones with dementia. While they will settle in time, you can help make this process smoother by visiting and staying in contact frequently. Also, have other family members and friends pop in for visits, call, or set up online video calls (the memory care team can help with this).
Bring treats, spend time together exploring their new community, visit with neighbors, and listen to your loved one’s concerns. Rather than being relentlessly positive, be empathetic. Tell them you understand that this is hard and that you’re going to be there for them every step of the way. This reassurance makes a person feel heard, understood, and calm, rather than opening the door to frustration.
Try to spend some time with the memory care team too. Talking to them about your loved one will help them ease your parent’s concerns and more accurately monitor their progress. It takes a village to care for a loved one with dementia, and the Tapestries Memory Care professionals at UMC are there to create a safe and loving space for your parent.
A Welcoming Transition to Tapestries Memory Care in Cape May County
At UMC at The Shores, we offer compassionate memory care to support residents with dementia. Our caregivers’ compassion and experience, combined with dementia-friendly floor plans and advanced technology, help create safe spaces for dementia residents to experience the most abundant life possible.
For more information about UMC at The Shores, and how we can help your loved one transition to memory care in NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at https://umcommunities.org/theshores/