Deciding to move a family member into memory care isn’t easy. Your family member with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or Parkinson’s disease may have reached a point in their condition requiring more care than you can give them. You may feel like you’re leaving them less independent than before or worry that they might feel ashamed and embarrassed.
Moving into memory care is difficult for everybody involved. The process can be stressful as your family member moves into an unfamiliar environment. Their hesitation is understandable, but they can make a smoother transition with your guidance and support.
Understanding memory care and the specific services and amenities offered at senior living communities can help you approach your family member with empathy, understanding, and excitement.
What is Memory Care
Memory care is different from assisted living. In assisted living, community members receive support for everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, and more. However, your family member gets a personalized memory support program in memory care.
Memory support programs for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease can include:
- Cognitive exercises to help maintain short-term memory
- A secure environment to prevent the risk of harm
- Professionally trained staff to support everyday activities
- Help with medication and other health requirements
- Dedicated, round-the-clock care to ensure a high quality of life
It’s important to remember that while the benefits may be clear to you, your family member may not see them at first. Whether they’ve been living on their own or with you, moving from their home can be stressful.
Understanding Relocation Stress Syndrome
Relocation stress syndrome is caused by sudden changes in a person’s environment. It mainly occurs in adults who move to assisted living communities and can be even more common in adults who move into memory care since they often rely on familiarity.
Relocation stress syndrome can often lead to symptoms such as:
Understanding relocation stress syndrome and how it can make an already difficult move harder is essential when approaching your family member about entering memory care. They may experience some or all of these symptoms, and learning how you can take steps to ease their transition can make all the difference in reducing their stress levels.
Moving Your Loved One to Memory Care
There are a few areas to focus on when preparing to approach your family member about memory care. These areas can help ease the transition and reduce their chances of developing relocation stress syndrome.
Build a Support Network
Before approaching your family member about moving into memory care, make sure you’ve talked to other members of their life to get support. A symptom of Alzheimer’s and dementia is distrust, even in people they know and love.
Having a network can help them understand that people care about them and support you through this challenging transition. The support network may include your siblings, aunts, uncles, your family member’s friends, and other important people in their life.
You and the rest of the support network must be on the same page before approaching your family member. It’s a good idea to discuss talking points and key messages to reinforce and restate to make sure your family member understands the message you’re trying to communicate.
Tour Memory Care Communities Together
Once you’ve approached your family member and laid the foundation for their move to memory care, schedule a visit to a memory care community with them. During your visit, you can ask questions together and make them part of the experience. Being part of the process gives your family member a sense of control over the situation.
Memory care communities don’t only offer a high standard of care, but they also provide a social setting filled with activities for your family member to enjoy. When you’re scheduling your visit, it also gives your family member the chance to see the benefits firsthand. Reinforcing these benefits can help build excitement about their move instead of anxiety.
When you’re scheduling your visit, make sure you do it during their “best time of day,” meaning when they are most present and able to understand what is happening around them entirely.
Bring Home with Them
To increase your family member’s familiarity with their surroundings, it’s a great idea to pack items from home. Bringing these items helps them feel comfortable in their new space,
These items could be mementos, pictures, or particular furniture items, depending on the size of their space. Your family member may not have the mental capacity to go through all their personal belongings. The process could be painful and add more anxiety if their condition has progressed to a later stage.
You and some members of your family member’s support network can go through their belongings and pick out a few that you believe they’ll want to bring with them. This way, they don’t have to do the labor, and they understand how much you know and care about them.
Memory Support at South River Fox Trail
Moving into memory care isn’t easy, and neither is the decision to approach your family member about it. They might be hesitant, but building a support network, touring communities together, and making their new space feel like home can make the transition easier. Your loved one is a valued member of our community. South River Fox Trail offers reimagined memory support for your family member, including specifically designed physical, mental, and social activities to help your family member maintain a high quality of life. If you believe memory care is an option for your family member, contact us today.