Daughter lovingly hugging her senior mother.

5 Tips for Transitioning a Loved One to Memory Care

Transitioning to a memory care community can be a very emotional time for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia – and their caregivers. Moving is stressful at any age, but for those with dementia, it can be especially challenging. This is because seniors with dementia can frequently become disoriented, which may exacerbate feelings of stress

Let’s explore what memory care is, its benefits and things you can do to ensure a smooth transition. 

What is Memory Care?

Older adults diagnosed with a cognitive disorder may need a level of care that their current support system can’t provide. A memory care community, like the one at Abbey Delray, is designed to keep your loved one in a safe, compassionate environment with individualized care plans to help them thrive.

Memory care communities can enhance your loved one’s quality of life through cognitive engagement activities and social events. Plus, memory care communities have trained team members and dementia-specific safety protocols to ensure their well-being. These protocols include wandering prevention tactics, grab bars to help with balance, medication assistance and more.

Tips for Your Move to Memory Care

After you have determined that a memory care community is right for your loved one, there are a few things you will want to do to ensure a smooth move. 

1. Have the Conversation

Before transitioning to memory care, you’ll need to have a conversation with any family members impacted by the move. If you are the guardian or sole caregiver of your loved one, this may ultimately be your decision alone, but communicating with others about this shift in your loved one’s care can mitigate negative reactions after the fact. Be prepared for some to be hesitant about this transition. Acknowledge their feelings and share with them the benefits this transition will bring

Since memory issues can exacerbate confusion, you will want to make sure that both you and your loved one’s friends and family members follow the same script when speaking to your loved one about the move. You may want to consult with a doctor or neurologist to confirm moving is the best choice. 

Depending on the progression of your loved one’s condition, you may also choose to speak to them ahead of the move to prepare them, and again the day of the move. Be sure to use supportive body language and talk with them in an environment where they feel safe and confident – typically in their home. Keep the conversation focused on the benefits that a memory care community can provide: 

Use comforting, simple, and straightforward language, like “This is a place where you will feel safe,” or “I understand that you want to live in your current home, but the doctor insists this is the best option.” 

2. Plan Ahead

Once you’ve discussed transitioning to memory care with your loved one and other family members, it’s time to start planning the move. Caregivers should handle the planning and packing process. To minimize disruptions, consider having a friend or family member take your loved one out for the day while you manage the move.

To ensure a smoother transition, have everything set up at the memory care community before they get there. Make their new home feel as familiar as possible to help them feel secure and connected. Place meaningful items like photos and photo albums, family heirlooms, sentimental trinkets and their favorite decorations around their room. 

3. Stay Mindful of Routines and Moving Time

Routines are essential to the well-being of a person with dementia, so on move-in day, make sure to follow their regular routine as closely as possible. Make sure their move-in time coincides with the time of day that they’re most alert. For seniors with dementia, this is typically in the mornings, as sundowning can happen later in the day. This will help them to get settled into their new surroundings while they’re at their best.

4. Stay Patient and Positive

It’s important to note that it will take some time for your loved one to get acclimated. Keep in mind that during the first few weeks or months of their move, they may be confused, disoriented, upset or ask to come home. Be patient and actively listen, reassuring them that you will be nearby and continue visiting. 

5. Get Support

Transitioning to memory care can also have a big impact on caregivers. It’s completely normal to have feelings of loss, guilt or grief. These are difficult emotions to work through, so it’s important to give yourself time to heal and be open and honest with yourself and others about it. Seeking support from loved ones, a mental health professional or Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiver support groups can help you heal through this transition.

Ensure Your Loved One is Supported at Abbey Delray 

At Abbey Delray, we believe that focusing on brain health is critical to successful aging, which is why we offer a specialized memory care program that’s tailored to each resident’s unique needs. Get access to a compassionate, expert team of caregivers who offer a robust selection of thoughtful services, amenities and activities designed to help your loved one live well. 

Contact us today to learn how our memory care services can help your loved one thrive.