Choosing to move your loved one with dementia into memory care is a big, emotionally charged decision. While it is most assuredly the right decision for you and your loved one, the fact remains that it is a complicated move to make – literally and figuratively.
“In a perfect world, moving your loved one into memory care would take place in a calm, organized fashion, preferably while your loved one is in the earlier stages of the disease,” says Ashley Lodi, Executive Director of Azpira at Windermere. “But that’s not always the case for many families. That’s perfectly fine, but it is true that there are a lot of moving parts and details to manage. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed and in over your head. Fortunately, with a solid and logical approach, along with appropriate support and resources, you don’t have to go at it alone.”
After making the decision to move your loved one and choosing a community, the next step in the transition is to plan and execute the move. We’ve put together a comprehensive checklist of the steps you can take to move your loved one as smoothly as possible – for them and you.
Before Moving Day
- Get a clear understanding of the memory care community’s services, policies and procedures and other necessary features.
- Get a hold of the measurements for your loved one’s room at the community and create a floor plan based on the size of the space. Be sure to account for important and necessary items that will help the place feel more like home.
- Don’t include your loved one in planning or packing for the move. It’s more than likely that he or she will no longer be able to identify that there is a problem. Explaining the situation will only result in denial and heightened emotional states.
- Recognize that this will be a challenging transition for both you and your loved one. Talk to the staff at the memory care community and get their opinion on tactics for helping before, during and after the move.
- Schedule the actual move during your loved one’s best time of day. If, for example, your mom is better in the morning, plan to arrive at the community early in the day. This will help smooth the transition as much as possible.
- Take only a few important items from home to start. You can always bring more items later as your loved one settles in.
- A few weeks prior to the move, attend some events at the memory care community with your loved one. Visiting during lunch and a social event can help both your loved one and the staff start to get acquainted with one another.
- Make sure medications and doctor’s orders are in order. Connect with the community ahead of time to make sure that everything is in place so that your loved one will not experience any sort of lapse in treatment.
- Consider working with a senior living moving specialist. These professionals can assist with the entire move from start to finish – well worth the cost as you navigate this difficult time.
- Set up your loved one’s new room as much as you can prior to the move. By placing personal touches and making the space as homey as possible, you can help it feel a little more like home from the minute they walk through the door.
- Make sure you and your loved one understand the COVID-19 visitation and communication plan
During the Move
- Make sure all the necessary information and paperwork has been signed and received. This will ensure that you don’t have to worry about those logistics on the actual move-in date.
- Take some time off of work – this will allow you to focus entirely on the move itself.
- Ask for help from friends and family members on the actual day of the move. Having an extra pair of hands will be very helpful.
- Don’t announce the move in advance. Depending on where your loved one is in his or her dementia journey, it may be beneficial to wait until the actual day of the move. Too much advance notice can actually backfire and create an atmosphere of anxiety.
- Try and stick to your loved one’s schedule as much as possible on the day of the move. Eat breakfast at the regular time, go about your regular routine and then, during your loved one’s best time of day, head to the memory care community.
- Stay positive and optimistic, as much as possible. Your loved one will feed off your energy and emotions, so it’s important to remain calm.
- Find a time to make a gracious departure after your loved one has arrived at the community. Talk with the staff beforehand to discuss the best way to handle this. For some, leaving for a while and then coming back several times may be the best solution. Other individuals may do better if you leave and then don’t come back at all for several days or even a week.
- Schedule some time for you to care for yourself. This will be a stressful day for you, as well, and it’s important that you care for your emotions and feelings. You may wish to have a friend for emotional support, or schedule a massage or something comforting to help you decompress and process the day’s events.
After the Move
- Give yourself time to grieve. If you’ve been the primary caregiver for your loved one, you may find yourself slightly adrift and wondering how to move forward. This is completely natural. Reach out to friends, talk to family members and consider speaking with a counselor or other professional if you need additional assistance.
- Work with the community to determine how best to proceed with visiting your loved one. Some communities recommend waiting several days or weeks before returning to visit a new resident. This provides opportunities for your loved one to build a routine, make friendships and settle into life at their new home.
- Find a support group. Remember, you’re not alone in this, and there are others in your community ready to share their experiences, provide support and be a resource for you during this time.
For more information, or to schedule a visit to Azpira at Windermere, please contact us at 407-278-8508.
Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.
At Azpira at Windermere, located in Windermere, FL, we’re redefining how older adults Live Well. Age Well. Be Well. Our lifestyle is far from “typical.” Our vibrant and engaging Assisted Living and uplifting A Knew Day® Memory Support inspires our residents to live passionately with purpose, every single day.
Step outside your apartment and you’ll experience a community offering thoughtful and award-winning VIVA!SM programs that are proven to enhance your life spiritually, mentally and physically. Azpira at Windermere’s team of specially trained wellness professionals are passionate about building unique relationships with every resident and guiding older adults as they set new goals, forge new relationships and live life at their own pace.
Azpira at Windermere is all about creating an environment that is ahead of the curve in wellness, fitness, spirituality, technology and preventative care. As the times and technology are changing, so are we. Residents and their families, along with our Resident Care Manager, will meticulously build a wellness plan that addresses medicine distribution, fitness objectives, nutrition needs and socialization goals.
Get excited about life at Azpira at Windermere. Our team is eager to guide you on the path you want to live – whether it’s enjoying your own city, exploring new ones, spending time with old friends, or spearheading a program of your own, this is your time to live the life you want with the luxury you deserve.