How To Move a Parent With Dementia To Assisted Living
May 6, 2021Assisted Living
When one’s parent struggles with dementia, it becomes really important that they have qualified staff around them to give them the required level of care they need.
It’s hard convincing a parent with Dementia to move into assisted living. The hardest part is that once you’ve convinced them the first time, you’ll have to repeat the process several times before they move. But eventually, they’ll understand why the facility is better for them in their state.
Moving any parent to an assisted living can cause some friction. However, this choice is being made because it is the right thing to do. It could be a concern for their safety or relieving you of crushing duties as a caregiver. Here are the steps you can take.
Table of contents
Find An Assisted Living Facility Suited To Your Parent
Trying to find the best care for your parent, particularly one with dementia, can be difficult. It is harder when there are numerous options to select from. Take the time to find the best facility by visiting, speaking with staff members, and asking if they have a program for people with dementia.
Be Transparent Concerning The Move
The most effective way to approach your parent with dementia about the move is to remain honest about your motives behind the move. It would be best if you did this without being patronizing. There could be numerous rationales as to why a move to an assisted facility is required. It isn’t necessary that you cover every one of them, remain concise and keep it simple.
It could be that you are burnt out in your role as a caregiver due to your parent with dementia either requiring more than you’re able to provide or refusing professional help from a “stranger.” While these are genuine motivations, they can make you feel as if you are throwing the towel. It is up to you to decide if being open means letting your parent know you can’t deal with the accompanying stress.
People living with dementia typically aren’t able to realize that their mental capacity has declined and that they require additional help with chores such as bathing, driving, cooking, and hygiene.
While it might be overwhelming for you and those around, your parent might believe there are no problems and no cause for the move. You should refrain from arguing this as it’s not going to help.
Be Respectful When Broaching The Subject of Moving
Respect is important and should be given. This means acknowledging your parent’s anxieties and fears as it shows that you are genuinely concerned about their feelings.
You should also provide your parent with enough time for them to process this new information and express their feelings. You should note that there might not be a resolution. However, this should not distract you from the process of moving them to an assisted living facility.
Always Remain Calm When Bringing Up The Subject Of Moving
Showing frustration by getting angry is bound to have an adverse effect and make your parent ground their heels in. Ensure that your emotions are regulated, remain calm all through the conversation. Individuals who have dementia are typically sensitive to their environment’s psychological mood and that of the people around them.
Write Down The Reasons For Moving
A frustrating aspect of dementia is that sufferers can sometimes forget what was discussed as they lack the short-term memory capacity they once had. This could be frustrating as you have to keep repeating questions and reasons for moving.
An effective way to guard against this is to write your reasons for moving down and placing them in a key area. This way, when they forget the reasons for moving, they can simply refer to the note.
Involve The Rest Of The Family
You shouldn’t arbitrarily decide to move your parent with dementia to assisted living. Involving your family members in the process can be the best thing to do, even if you feel you are rightly placed to make the decision yourself.
Families do not always agree on moving a parent with dementia to an assisted living facility is the right thing to do. The healthy way is to have open conversations about the advantages and disadvantages of the move. It might be necessary to enlist the services of a mediator if a consensus cannot be reached.
Once the rest of your family is on board, solicit them to talk to your parent. Be careful not to give off the impression that the rest of the family has chosen to gang up on them. Rather it should be in support of the move, reinforcing the reasons for it.
Visit The Assisted Living Facility With Your Parent Several Times
Taking the time to visit an assisted living facility can actually help. Life changes can be quite challenging at any age, but for a parent with dementia, the transition can be quite stressful.
It helps when a parent living with dementia feels a sense of familiarity by the time they finally move. This means numerous visits to the facility you have settled on to enable your parent to connect with staff, as well as get to meet other residents.
The majority of personnel at most assisted living facilities have some experience working with individuals who have dementia. They are also able to coordinate such visits. There have been cases of staff being able to introduce a parent to a resident in hopes of establishing a connection.
What Happens When They Agree To Move To The Facility?
You have taken the time to be thoughtful with your discussions, stating your motives for the move, and now that your parent has agreed, you are unsure what to do next. This is the part you have to get right.
Your planning and attitude can make a difference in this challenging aspect of the entire process.
Be Careful When Downsizing
Moving to an assisted living apartment from a house will need some downsizing. This can be difficult as your parent is likely attached to their things and connected memories.
To make the process easier, ask your parent to pick the essential items they would like in their assisted living apartment. If they can’t make the decision themselves, it may fall to you to help them. In that case, you can select important memorabilia and photos for their space.
The rest of the items should be kept in storage so your parent can switch out some things at a later date. Letting your parent know that their things are accessible and safe can go a long way in reducing anxiety.
Make The Move As Stress-Free As Possible
The packing and moving process can be extremely stressful for a parent with dementia. However, there are a few methods to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Arrange for your parent’s belongings to be packed when they are absent.
On the day they are supposed to move, keep your parent busy. This could mean taking them out to lunch or a park, anything that is distracting and pleasant.
Ask your family to unpack in the assisted living space, putting everything in its place before your arrival. Doing this ensures that when your parent is brought to the assisted living space, their familiar items are already organized and in place.
Stay For As Long As You Can On Move Day
Staying for a while is not to create dependence rather, it is a way to provide support. Staying can help your parent get familiar with their new environment. If it happens to be mealtime, go with them to dinner and remain for the meal.
Re-introduce people your parent met on your prior visits. For someone who has dementia, repetition is key. Also, inform your parent that you will be there to visit the next day.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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