Elder law attorneys know that making the decision to move an elderly loved one into an assisted living facility is never easy. However, when your elderly parent or grandparent is struggling with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the situation can be particularly challenging.
Challenges of Moving with Dementia
For those with dementia, being in new places and surrounded by unfamiliar objects may lead to a great deal of anxiety. Furthermore, if they struggle with expressing themselves verbally, it can be difficult to know what they are asking for and what might help calm them down. These communication issues can also make it harder for nursing home staff to get to know them.
Yet the challenges of moving with dementia are not just about the struggles of the older loved ones themselves. Adult children often also have a hard time due to the guilt they may have about not being able to manage their parents’ or grandparents’ care at home.
The trouble is that caring for someone with dementia can easily take over your life, and in the end, they will often be much safer in an environment that is dedicated to serving their needs. While the moving process may not be easy, there are a few things you can do to make it go more smoothly.
1. Make It Familiar
When you decide that it is time to help your loved one move, begin observing the objects and items they use and touch most often. This could be a blanket they often cover up with while watching television, a photo of their deceased spouse, or a favorite cardigan. Make sure that they have immediate access to some of these items during the move. Take care to place familiar objects in their new home so that they can see and feel these things as soon as they arrive.
2. Pick the Right Time of Day
If you have been spending a lot of time with your loved one, you have probably noticed that their memory is better at some portions of the day than others. For many elderly dementia patients, this is the morning. If possible, try to time the move to coincide with the part of the day at which your loved one is at their most lucid.
3. Music Can Be Therapeutic
As is the case with most of us, familiar music can help adults with dementia feel clearer and can improve their experience of the move. As you are making the transition to a new home for your loved one, playing some of their favorite music in the background can help to ease their anxiety. You can also ask the care team at their new home to play these familiar tunes for your loved one when you are unable to be there.
Contact an Experienced Elder Law Attorney
When it comes to making such an important transition, it is vital to have as much support and as many resources as possible. Speaking with an experienced elder law attorney about the move and other aspects of your loved one’s life can help. You’ll gain the knowledge and tools you need to help both yourself and your elderly loved one feel more secure as they move forward into the next stage of their life. If you need assistance getting started, schedule a consultation with one of our elder law attorneys.
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