Discovering a family member is living with memory impairments can be difficult, and transitioning him or her into memory care can be an overwhelming experience. This is especially true if one is hesitant or resistant to making the transition into a memory care community. Navigating through all of the unknowns is a task by itself, but ensuring that your family member is comfortable with the change adds another layer.
At The Pavilion Senior Living, we do everything we can to help make the transition to our memory care community in Lebanon, Tennessee, as smooth as possible for both you and your family. To ease the transition, we have researched and gathered some tips for helping your family on this journey.
Choosing the Right Community
Many individuals with dementia or other cognitive impairments want to be involved in their care planning process while they are still able to do so. Planning for circumstances where your loved one may need to move to a memory care community should be considered ahead of time. By doing so, you can discuss specific arrangements that your family member prefers and plan accordingly.
In addition, the more time you give yourself to plan, the more options you will have available. If you wait until extra care is needed, you may find yourself with limited options or force your family to make a hasty decision.
Do your research. Once you have a community in mind, frequent the community at various times to see how a typical day cycles.
Be friendly with the team members. This way, you have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the community, and it can give you a better feel for the individuals that will be caring for your loved one on a daily basis.
There is a lot to consider when choosing a memory care community that is right for your family. Alzheimers.net has provided a list of 15 questions that you should ask each community you are considering before making any decisions:
- What level of care does the community provide?
- What type of training has the staff received?
- What is the monthly rate for housing and care? What services does that rate include?
- Are the rooms private or semi-private? How do prices vary for each?
- What level of personal assistance can residents expect?
- What is the policy for handling medical emergencies?
- Hoe is the community secured?
- What meals are provided? Are special dietary requests accommodated?
- How often are housekeeping and laundry services provided?
- What programs (exercise, physical therapy, social and other activities) does the community offer?
- Does the community accommodate special care needs, such as diabetic care, mobility issues, physical aggressiveness, or wandering?
- Are residents grouped by cognitive level?
- What is the ratio of staff to residents during the day/night?
- How does the community communicate with families about a resident’s well-being?
- What is the discharge policy?
For additional information on memory care, we encourage you to read our blog, “Understanding What to Expect from Memory Care Services as a Family Member.”
Communicating Openly and Honestly
Discussing difficult topics such as making the move to a memory care community can be uncomfortable. Still, it is necessary to make sure that everyone involved is aware and is planning for all situations. If your family member is resistant to moving to memory care, consider involving his or her physician in the conversation. If the suggestion comes from a professional opinion, he or she may be more receptive to the idea.
On the other hand, you need to use your own judgment when it comes to the information you disclose about the move. For example, do not keep reminding your family member that he or she is moving if it is causing them stress. If by talking about the transition to memory care too far in advance is causing feelings of anxiety, try to refrain from bringing it up too often. When the time comes, however, discuss the information openly.
Acknowledging Your Loved One’s Feelings
It is completely natural for your loved one to go through many emotions during the transition process. The important thing is to listen to how he or she feels and validate their emotions. Make sure your family member knows that you understand his or her concerns and let them know that you hear them.
Often, a family member may display feelings of anger or hostility, causing you to question if deciding to move him or her to memory care was the best choice. You need to remember that these feelings are more than likely coming from a place of fear or uncertainty. Be patient with both your loved one and yourself and be confident in your decision. As time passes, everyone involved will become more comfortable and adjusted to the changes that are taking place.
Recognizing Your Own Emotions
You are bound to go through a variety of emotions along with your loved one, including anxiety, fear, sadness, stress, and even guilt, to name a few. All of these reactions are normal, so give yourself time to feel these emotions and adjust. Just as you acknowledge and validate your loved one’s feelings, you must do the same for yourself. Your emotions and concerns are just as important as your family members’.
Do not say negative remarks about the transition or the community itself to your family member, even if you feel it will not impact him or her. These negative comments will only further upset your loved one and make the move that much harder. Instead, seek out a support group or talk to other close friends or family members.
Reducing the Surprise Factor
Reducing the surprise factor as much as possible is a great way to ease the transition and move to a memory care community. Hopefully, your family member was involved in choosing a community that is right for him or her. However, if this is not the case, acclimate your loved one to the new community and environment by taking him or her to visit the community and form relationships with the caregivers.
Many communities offer respite care as a way to “feel out” a community. This is a great way for your loved one to experience what it will be like to live there before moving.
For more information on respite care services at The Pavilion Senior Living, read our blog, “Navigating and Understanding Respite Care Services.”
Limiting Your Loved One’s Involvement
Although it is important for your family member to have a say in his or her care, do not include them in every detail of planning or expect them to make the transition alone. For individuals with memory care needs, decision-making processes can present challenges. Limiting your loved one’s involvement in the chaos and stress of packing and moving can help reduce feelings of anxiety.
Making the New Environment Familiar
A great way to ease the transition to a memory care community is to make your loved one’s new living space as familiar as possible. Bring decorations and knickknacks from his or her current residence to provide a sense of “home.” Things like family pictures can go a long way in making a new home feel comfortable.
Talk with team members at the community to find out what limitations they have in regards to larger items, such as furniture. If the community allows it, bringing a favorite chair, for example, could help provide familiarity to your family member’s new environment.
Maintaining Enjoyable Routines
Do not forget to call and visit your loved one. You should visit and call often, especially during the beginning of the transition. Maintaining familiar routines is crucial in keeping your loved one’s move to a memory care community positive. As he or she adjusts to the new environment, it is good to stick to a routine. If you always have a family dinner on Sunday evenings, continue to do so. If you and your family member watch a specific television show together, keep up that practice.
Just because your family member is moving to a new residence does not mean that they are no longer part of the family. Make sure he or she still feels included.
Keep these tips in mind when transitioning your loved one into a memory care community in Lebanon, Tennessee. If you have any questions regarding memory care services at The Pavilion Senior Living or want advice on helping your family make this life-changing transition, contact us today.
Updated On: June 15, 2020