How to Move a Loved One into Memory Care

Suzanne FiscelIa, PA-C, BCPA / November 13, 2020

moving elders, memory care

There is no easy way to move a loved one. Everyone is different and how they will react. Not only will you have feelings of guilt, sorrow, and even despair, but your siblings may also find it hard to go through this transition.

Remember the feelings of your loved one…

Now let’s talk about the loved one who is being moved. He or she has their own set of emotions and fears.
The fear of being lonely or left alone.
The fear that no one will come and visit them.
They fear that they won’t like the facility or make any new friends.

Moving someone into memory care is not a one day or even a one week job.

We talked a lot at Caregiver Haven about getting prepared. This is one of the big ones. All caregivers have to have a strategy on place when a crisis occurs.

Whether your loved ones are home, and one of them falls and breaks a hip, what does the other one do?

If they live with you and your family and it becomes unbearable for you or your family, what proactive pre-decisions have you made?
Remember Caregiver Haven is about providing education, protecting the caregiver, and preventing the crisis.

So let’s do our homework first before we even think about putting our loved one in memory care.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with any form of dementia we have to consider memory care in our future.
Dementia is an umbrella term for declining mental disease.
It encompasses Alzheimer’s as well as Parkinson’s and many other types of memory loss.
It also means personality changes, aggression, anger, meanness, etc.

Here’s a list of 5 things to go through and decide which work best for you before you approach your loved one.

1) Choose the best facility.

Here you’ve got to do your homework. The 53 question guide I give you in the Ultimate Caregiver’s Guide Toolkit will show you the right questions to ask, especially during this Covid pandemic.
Pick three facilities and look them over. If none of those are satisfactory to you, pick the next three and look those over. When you have chosen three that you really like and they have availability for your loved one pretty quickly then let your loved one know so they can visit these places. Try not to extend this out over months as your loved one will become more apprehensive about moving.

2) Recognize the transition will be challenging.

I think there’s enough said about how challenging this transition can be. The best approach is to let the staff handle your loved one and the transition. They have done it many times and they know exactly what they’re doing. If you trust this facility (which you should if you’re putting your loved one there) then trust them to know how to help you get through this time as well. When you share with them your fears, you will be amazed at how much they can help you.

3) Align moving time with your loved one’s best time of day.

Make sure that your moving time is early morning or early afternoon. You do not want to wait for evening hours as your loved one starts to get tired. Also, you do not want to move your loved one while breakfast lunch, or dinner is being served as the employees are busy getting everybody fed. It is best to move your loved one when someone is there to be with him or her when you leave.

4) Attend events at the care facility prior to move-in day.

This is so important. It is very difficult to explain to your loved one about the events if you don’t go to them yourself. Talk to the people there and talk to the employees who run these activities and get their insight and also tell them about your loved one and how it is best for them to get your loved one engaged early in the process of coming and going throughout the facility. Attend as many of these events as you can so you can continue to encourage your loved one to participate in them.

5) Give the staff information about your loved one ahead of time.

There is a wonderful book called “The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care” written by Virginia Bell and David Troxel. It explains to any memory care facility the exceptional programs they use and teach their employees. If you have any facilities in your area that utilize The Best Friends Approach you will see what I’m talking about here. It is an amazing program and it’s an excellent book to read so you better understand how to work with someone who has dementia. The gist of it is that the more the employees know about the life your loved one lead, and the music they loved as the years went by, the better they will be to engage your loved one in the life they loved. This is what best friends do. They know everything about each other. They trust each other. They love each other and they laugh with each other. These are the memories that they share. Please make sure that the facility understands the value of the life of your loved one.

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Suzanne FiscelIa, PA-C, BCPA

I know exactly what it's like to feel like you just can't keep up. Working a full-time job, raising 3 children as a single mom, and taking care of her aging mother. But after feeling lost, overwhelmed, and guilty for spreading herself too thin, I saw all her patients and their caregivers going through the same thing. I learned how to put simple systems in place to keep my life free from distractions, find free time to do the things I wanted, and enjoy my family along the way. These simple step-by-step solutions have been shared with my patients, friends, and family. They too have found organization, confidence, peace, and freedom. Now we all live the life we love while caregiving! Come join us!

Hi I'm Suzanne

And my mission is to find you practical easy-to-follow solutions for everyday caregiving. Find out more HERE.

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