Imagine going to bed in your own room and waking up in an unfamiliar place with no clue how you got there. Sounds scary!
Unfortunately, this is what most dementia patients go through after their family suddenly moves them into assisted living communities. Therefore, it is essential to have a transition plan to make a move less stressful.
Though these individuals don’t require around-the-clock medical supervision, they do need personalized care and proper attention. In most cases, as their condition worsens, it becomes almost impossible for the children and others to look after their loved ones and provide them with a healthy lifestyle.
In this regard, board and care homes can be a good choice for dementia patients. Since these senior living communities are in private residences in regular neighborhoods, they can make their residents feel right at home. They also have a relatively unstructured environment, allowing the residents to create their own schedules and participate in a host of activities. More importantly, such residential assisted living facilities have secure premises and a proper security system. This ensures your loved one with dementia won’t wander outside the property without any supervision.
While the trained professionals at assisted living communities make sure the residents with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia live a safe and happy life, the transition from a familiar environment to a new home can leave them anxious and confused.
Here are some tips on how to move a loved one with dementia to assisted living.
Have a Conversation as Early as Possible
It may be a good idea to discuss assisted living with your loved ones soon after their dementia diagnosis. Of course, it is a sensitive topic, and most people may not be comfortable leaving their homes and moving into a care facility at the early stages of their disease. Still, it is important to have this conversation while you can.
As dementia worsens, your loved one will have trouble following their daily routine. Eventually, the patient may forget to take their medication and have food. In later stages, they may even wander out of the house and end up hurting themselves.
Although all these situations can be painful to imagine, it would be best to start looking into senior living communities as soon as you can. Once you have selected a place, consider scheduling a tour of the facility. It is crucial to engage the dementia patients in choosing a board and care home and deciding the moving day.
However, it is worth mentioning that if your loved one is already in the later stages of dementia, involving them in the decision-making process can upset them. In such situations, you may want to enlist the help of other family members and friends. Explain to them how moving to an assisted living community will be beneficial for the health and safety of the patient.
Dementia Patients Must Be Surrounded By Familiar Things
For those struggling with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, being thrust into an unfamiliar environment can be downright traumatizing. Therefore, it is always a good idea to surround them with things they know and love. It will make them feel more at ease and decrease their anxiety.
Most residential care communities, including Royal Garden Board and Care Homes, encourage residents to decorate their rooms per their liking. The residents can also bring in some furnishing and other prized possessions to create a home-like environment.
So, when you start packing for your loved one to move into assisted living, think about the things they use and see most often. It could be a family photo hanging on the wall, a blanket they have been using for a while, their favorite perfume, or any other item they cherish the most. You can place these things into their new room at the care facility to recreate a familiar environment. It may also be good to rearrange the furniture to make it look like the resident is back in their home. Doing so will also reduce tripping hazards.
You can also ask the management at your chosen facility about the items you want to bring along. Just make sure you bring enough to decorate the room without making it look cluttered, as it may become confusing for the resident to find their belongings.
Always Move On a Good Day
Seniors with dementia usually have good days followed by not-so-good days. While it is not easy to predict if the moving date will turn out to be a good day, it is always a good idea to rearrange your schedule or postpone the move if your loved one is having a particularly bad day.
If rescheduling the move is not possible, you can improve their mood by indulging them in things they enjoy the most. It could be anything, such as watching their favorite movie, enjoying an ice cream they like, or visiting a place that makes them happy.
For a lot of dementia patients, mornings tend to be a lot better than the evenings. If you have noticed a similar pattern with your parents or loved one, consider choosing that time of the day for the move. Moreover, if possible, ask your family members or friends to move the patient’s belongings to the assisted living facility and arrange their room before they finally arrive at the place. It will help them settle into their new home.
Communicate With the New Caregiving Staff
As dementia progresses, it may become difficult for the residents to communicate with the caregiving staff verbally. Therefore, you need to talk to the staff at the board and care home and share all the basic information about your loved one. Even if the patient is still at an early stage of the disease, it will help them settle if the staff already knows about their favorite meals, books, music, hobbies, activities, etc.
You can also write down some of the most crucial details about your parent or loved one’s condition, including things that might trigger them, their likes and dislikes, things they may find scary, and more. Share these details with the senior living facility team to let them know which topics may interest the residents and which ones they should stay away from. In addition, it also helps if the staff members are already familiar with the daily routine of the newly admitted dementia patients, as it allows them to create a similar routine.
Are You Looking to Move Your Loved One With Dementia into Assisted Living?
Moving a parent or loved one to an assisted living facility is not an easy decision. However, dementia patients need 24/7 supervision or assistance, allowing them to lead safe and happy lives.
If you live in California, Royal Garden Board and Care Homes could be an ideal choice for you. Our highly qualified staff is well-versed in caring for dementia patients. Along with providing our residents with personalized care, we also offer various services geared towards their specific issues and needs. To schedule a tour of our facilities, please feel free to contact us.