Moving to a new home can be tough even under the best circumstances. Packing your belongings, selling a home, arranging for movers, and all the other details are time consuming and stressful.
For adults who need Alzheimer’s care, the challenges associated with moving are unique. So much so that mental health professionals use the term “transfer trauma” to describe the experience. Transfer trauma is a cluster of symptoms that occur when an older adult relocates. Symptoms range from increased anxiety to weight loss.
If you are beginning to explore memory care facilities for an aging parent, there are steps you can take to make the process go more smoothly.
Establish a timeline: Being the caregiver of a senior family member who has dementia is challenging. Creating a realistic timeline for finding a memory care assisted living community and making the transition may help you find peace during this process. If you don’t have anyone to assist you with the logistics of the move, you might want to consider hiring a senior move manager or a professional organizer. They are experienced at handling everything from donating unneeded items to hiring and supervising movers.
1. Set realistic goals: Rushing through a move will likely increase anxiety for you and agitation for your senior loved one. It’s better to set realistic goals. If concern for the senior’s safety is making the move feel more urgent, talk with memory care facilities near you about respite care. Your loved one might be able to stay in the community’s short-term care suite for a week to see how well they adjust. Doing so will also free up extra time in your day to prepare for the move.
2. Get involved before moving day: Once you decide on a memory care assisted living community, visit it a few times before moving day. Depending upon what stage of dementia your loved one is in, it might help ease the anxiety associated with the transition. Spending time participating in a few life enrichment activities is one of the best ways to get involved.
3. Create a moving day plan: Moving day is always hectic. For an adult with Alzheimer’s disease, the noise and increased activity can result in agitation. That can put them at higher risk for wandering. It may be beneficial to have a familiar friend or family member take the senior out to lunch or to their home for a few hours. You could also consider asking a trusted friend to supervise the movers so you can take your loved one to the memory care community before the movers arrive. The goal should be to minimize the older adult’s exposure to moving day chaos and stress.
4. Make the new environment familiar: The transition will likely go more easily if you make the new residence look like their old one. Make sure you bring family photos, familiar wall décor, bedding, and other belongings. You might want to check with the community about coming the day before to hang family pictures and place other treasures around their new suite.
We know the search for a quality memory care assisted living community can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Let one of our senior care advisors help make the process easier. Their in-depth knowledge of local Alzheimer’s care communities can save you time and frustration.
Call us at 888-514-6461 to get started today. As always, our advice is free for seniors and families!