The decision to move a loved one into an assisted living home is never made lightly. You worry that your family member will feel lonely, not be nurtured adequately, and have a difficult time adjusting. These are natural concerns, and are only amplified when your loved one's memory is faltering. While assisted living facilities, like Stonehill Care Center, are often the best choice for someone with dementia, it is still a difficult adjustment – for each of you.
How Do You Prepare Someone with Dementia to Leave Home?
While it's difficult to prepare your loved one to move into an assisted living home, you should still include him or her in discussions about it. Explain that you feel your loved one needs better care than you can provide. You might need to have these discussions in front of their doctor or other family member who can support you. Try to make the senior feel that this decision was theirs, not yours.
Another way to prepare someone with dementia for the change is to help them decide what to bring when they move. Pick out momentos – especially photo albums and objects of sentimental value – to put up in their new home. Keep in mind how much space they'll have so you don't have to take something from your loved one once they are moved in.
What Can You Do to Help Someone with Dementia Adjust?
The change to a new home is an emotional and confusing one. Your loved one will be bombarded with new sights, sounds, routines, and people. They will not see you as frequently as they are used to and will probably experience feelings of frustration, bitterness, and doubt. But rest assured that you can help someone with dementia adjust to their new home and help make their last years comfortable and pleasant.
The best thing you can do is establish regular visiting times. Become part of their routine. Your loved one will have something to look forward to each week, knowing that you are on your way. When you visit, it's a good idea to pull out a photo album and point out a picture of yourself. Seniors with dementia will sometimes remember you as a child, so find pictures from different stages of your life. Keep your visits simple and short, but frequent.
How Do You Adjust to the New Change?
Helping your loved one move into an assisted living facility for seniors with dementia can be difficult for you, too. You probably experience feelings ranging from guilt and sadness to relief and gratitude. Rest assured that it's okay to feel relieved that you no longer have the burden of caregiving 24/7. The physical and emotional stress is being lifted, so naturally you will feel some relief at the change. When you experience guilt for putting them in someone else's care, however, don't disregard it. Simply recommit to visiting and staying close – there are still plenty of opportunities to reach out.
Feelings of sadness are natural, as well. You feel sad that the chapters of your loved ones life are closing in this way. You want this person to remember children and grandchildren when they visit. You want to be remembered. You can combat this sadness by cherishing the times that your loved one is focused and alert. Enjoy the stories they tell you – write them for future generations. Get to know your loved one in a new way, and be grateful for the experiences you can share with them. Be grateful for the caregivers watching over your loved one, as well.
Transferring your loved one from home to an assisted living facility can be a trying experience. But there are ways to prepare someone with dementia for the move. Remember that regular visits will help you both adjust to the change. Cherish the time you spend together, don't grieve over what is changing in your lives.
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