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Making the Move from Home into Memory Care

Making the decision to move your loved one with dementia into memory care can be difficult. Even though you know it is the best possible choice to ensure quality of life for your loved one – and yourself – it is an emotionally charged choice that also requires a lot of work.

“Moving someone to memory care requires a lot of patience and planning,” says Crystal Yost, PCHA, PCH, Administrator at Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. “In a perfect world, your loved one would move into memory care early on in their dementia journey, which would ensure that the community feels more like ‘home.’ However, many times the move doesn’t happen until the individual is in the middle or later stages of dementia, which can be quite taxing for them and for caregivers. Fortunately, even though this can be a complicated move, it can be made as smooth as possible by using a logical approach and gathering resources and support as soon as possible.”

When Is It Time to Move to Memory Care?

Crystal says that there’s no “wrong time” to move to memory care. “In fact, we often recommend moving to memory care as early as possible because the appropriate care and support can allow loved ones to maintain their abilities and cognitive function for as long as possible,” she says. However, if that’s not the case, here are some signs to watch for that signal that a move to memory care would be beneficial.

You’re worried about your loved one’s safety. As dementia progresses, your loved one’s abilities will continue to deteriorate until they need supervision 24/7 in order to live safely. If your loved one is wondering, falling or having difficulties, moving to memory care will ensure they are as safe as possible.

You’re worried about your safety. If you can no longer care for your loved one without putting yourself at risk, memory care may be the right option.

You’re risking caregiver burnout. Being a dementia caregiver is an exhausting role. If you find yourself becoming increasingly exhausted, worn out and depressed, moving your loved one to memory care will improve your life (and theirs) greatly.

Your loved one is bored and lonely. Enjoyable activities, socialization opportunities and a sense of purpose are essential for those with dementia to live their best quality of life. However, it can be hard to make those things happen as a single caregiver. Memory care provides all those opportunities and more.

You want to nurture your pre-existing relationship. Moving your loved one into memory care gives you the chance to relinquish the caregiver role and step back into your role as spouse, adult child or friend.

Making the Move to Memory Care

After you’ve made the decision and chosen a memory care community for your loved one, the next step is to make plans for the actual move itself. We’ve assembled a checklist of steps to take in order to make the transition as smooth as possible for you and your loved one.

Prior to Moving Day

  • Work with the memory care community to gain clear understanding of their policies, procedures, services and other community aspects.
  • Get a floor plan of your loved one’s new living space and determine what personal items you will be able to take to make the room feel more like home.
  • Consider working with a senior living moving specialist who can help with the entire move from start to finish.
  • Plan to move your loved one during their best time of the day. For example, if Dad functions better in the morning, plan to arrive at the memory care community early in the day.
  • Set up your loved one’s new room as much as you can prior to the move. Personal touches and familiar items will help make the new space feel more like home.
  • Only move a few important items from home to begin with. Later, you can bring other items as your loved one settles in.
  • Understand that this will be challenging for both you, your loved one and other members of your family. Connect with the staff at the new community and discuss how best to manage the emotional ups and downs before, during and after the move.
  • Check to make sure doctor’s orders and medications are in order, and be sure that everything is in place with the community so that your loved one doesn’t experience any lapses in treatment.
  • Make sure all necessary paperwork and information has been signed and received – this will mean one less thing to worry about on the day of the actual move.

On Moving Day

  • Take time off of work so that you’re able to focus all your attention on the actual move.
  • Don’t announce the move in advance to your loved one. This can backfire, depending on where in the dementia journey he or she is in. It may be necessary to not even discuss it at all with them. You’ll want to speak to your loved one’s doctor as well as the memory care staff to ensure that you’re approaching this in the best possible way.
  • As much as possible, try and stick to your loved one’s schedule on the day of the move. Go about your normal routine and then, during your loved one’s best time of the day, head to the memory care community.
  • Remain optimistic and positive, because your loved one will feed off your emotions and energy.
  • Plan to spend a little bit of time with your loved one once you arrive at the community, but then find a way to make a gracious departure. Discuss with the staff prior to the move day about what the best course of action would be.
  • Schedule some “you time” following the move. This will be a very stressful day for you, and you’ll want to have some aftercare for your feelings and emotions. Schedule a massage, plan to spend the afternoon with a friend or do something else that’s comforting to help you decompress.

After the Move

  • Allow yourself the opportunity to grieve. Now that your role as caregiver is over, you may feel adrift and unsure as to how to move forward. Remember that this is a very natural part of the process. Reach out to friends and family or consider speaking with a therapist to process your emotions.
  • Work with the memory care community to figure out the best way to plan virtual visits with your loved one. Some communities suggest waiting several days or weeks before visiting a new resident. Doing this allows your loved one the opportunity to build a routine and settle into their new life.
  • Look for support groups who can provide the resources you need at this time. It’s good to remind yourself that you’re not alone and that there are others who are ready and willing to provide support, share resources and tips and help you during this time.

For more helpful senior living and senior care information, we invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior health topics. We also welcome you to stop in for a tour to see for yourself why we’ve been rated “Best in Memory Care.”

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, “Making the Move from Home into Memory Care,” we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comfort of home. Our memory care community touches hearts and changes lives.

 Helping Families Be “Family” Again.

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.

If and when the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again.

For more information, please call Sharon at 484.380.5404 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.