It’s a difficult choice to move a parent into an assisted living facility or memory care center. The transition period invokes many emotions, and it can be a challenge to manage the physical move from the parent’s home into a senior living home. This guide reviews the steps you can take to make the move easier for your loved one and the rest of your family. 

Young daughter speaking with senior father

Begin Preparing Your Loved One and Family Members for the Transition Into an Assisted Living Facility 

It’s better to have a conversation with your family about how to treat your parent soon after receiving a diagnosis for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Having a parent with dementia can be a strain on everyone’s mental health and physical well-being. While some people may dread the prospect of moving a loved one into a nursing home, a memory care center can provide so much more care than a family caregiver might be able to without needing to leave work. 

If you start the conversation with your parent in the early stage of Alzheimer’s or another form of mental decline, the parent has more control over the decision-making and feels included in the process. This can help ease any guilt you might feel about the idea because you know you’re choosing a memory care unit that your parent likes. If an elderly person is in the mid to late stages of mental decline, it’s more difficult to involve them and no longer a good idea because it may upset them or worsen their condition. 

If the diagnosis comes late, it may be best not to tell your parent the move is happening until all the preparations have been made. Your family members can assist you when selecting the new memory care community and then help you pack your parent’s things and perform the move.  

A Memory Care Community Isn’t a Typical Assisted Living Apartment 

For patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia, assisted living centers aren’t all created equal. A memory care facility is a center that specializes in the treatment of elderly people who suffer from mental decline. The decision to move your parent into a nursing facility is stressful enough, and you don’t want to have to do it again if the home you chose doesn’t work out. Make sure when you’re considering assisted living facilities that you’re looking for an assisted living center that offers memory care. 

A memory care home employs staff who can help with the transition because they understand how to explain the move to your parent and what things will make it easier for you to complete the move with minimal incident. You can lean on these staff members as you struggle with the emotional impact the move is having on you and your family, and most memory care facilities have transition programs and counseling services that take your own health, emotions and needs into account during this time.  

It’s important when you’re selecting a community to help make the new home as familiar as possible to your parent. Taking a loved one for several visits to the new home prior to the move helps them get adjusted to the new home environment, and the care team can introduce them to other residents. Making new friends and developing good memories over a few visits with a family member present can reduce anxiety and resistance to the process. 

Memory care personnels assisting seniors

Plan the Move Date Carefully 

Choosing the right date to make the transition depends on how far along your parent has progressed in their mental decline. It’s important to know what date to make the move and to arrange the move during an ideal time of day.  

Moving during early mornings or later in the afternoon can create complications if your loved one is tired. Exhaustion can result in irritability and cause headaches while you’re attempting to move your loved one’s possessions. The best time of day is just before or after noon so your parent has enough energy to make the transition and is less likely to be moody or angry. They can get settled in and make new dining hall friends while you’re handling the incidentals. 

The best date to move depends on your parent’s condition. It’s best to wait until it’s evident they’re no longer able to care for themselves safely and need regular supervision and care. Moving them too soon can cause lingering resentment and personal guilt if you wonder later if you should’ve waited longer.  

Making the Actual Move 

The first few weeks in a new home can be stressful for anyone, and it’s even harder for someone with memory loss. Waking up in an unfamiliar setting can be unsettling and cause panic. Elderly patients transition better when they’re surrounded by familiar objects and furniture. Setting up family photos, bringing your loved one’s favorite music and displaying other personal effects that hold sentimental value can help make the transition into a new community successful. 

Keep these things in mind during the packing process, and if you’re including your parent in the packing, find out what objects they’d like to have present. New residents in a skilled nursing and dementia care facility may have trouble adjusting at first, so expect setbacks.

Many families help ease the transition by having the adult children take turns visiting the senior loved one in the new assisted living community until they’re completely settled.  Those who are unsure exactly how to move a parent with dementia to assisted living communities have plenty of resources available once they begin looking at memory care units.

Staff members can review expectations, explain the type of professional care your loved one will receive, guide you to counseling services and help you with the move through the facility’s transition program. It’s important to know that you’re not alone during this stressful time and that you can lean on others to help complete the transition.  

Learn more about Abbey Manor and contact us here:  (443) 256-4871  to schedule a tour today.