Are you a member of the Sandwich Generation? This generation is mostly made up of Gen Xers. They are sandwiched between their school-age children and their aging parents, both of whom need help with everyday tasks, emotional support, and maybe even financial assistance as well.
If you don’t already count yourself as part of this demographic, you may well find yourself there soon. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of seniors — Americans age 65 or older — is going to double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.
Of course, millions of seniors are hale and hearty. Those who suffer from dementia, however, need extra help. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips on moving a loved one to a memory care facility.
Tips on Moving a Parent to Memory Care
Before we begin, it’s important to realize one thing. Moving a parent or other aging loved one to a memory care facility is different than moving them to an assisted living facility. If your loved one still has a fairly sharp mind but needs some help with everyday activities, involving them in the process is advisable.
However, this isn’t such a good idea if the senior in question has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. It might seem cruel not to keep them in the loop, but telling them too much about what’s happening can actually add to what’s known as transfer trauma.
Carefully Select a Facility
The memory care facility is likely going to be your parent’s last home, so it is vital to make sure it can meet your needs. The staff should be caring, compassionate and experienced in interacting with dementia patients. There should be security measures in place. These include medical alert systems, electronic room keys, and resident location monitoring.
Making sure your loved one is safe is one priority. You will also want a facility that allows them to maintain their independence and autonomy to the fullest possible extent. It can be tricky to find a balance between those two goals. The best memory care facilities will be able to walk that line.
Take a Tour
Memory care facilities are happy to have prospective residents and their families visit, take a tour, and spend some time checking out their services and amenities. A personal visit can help to ease your mind and alleviate any guilt you may feel.
Just getting a sense of how residents are treated, and seeing the private rooms and common areas up close, will go a long way toward bolstering your confidence that this is the right decision to make.
Find Peace with Telling “Fiblets”
The World Alzheimer’s Congress coined the term “geriatric fiblet” in 2000. Fiblets are the “necessary white lies to redirect loved ones or discourage them from detrimental behavior.” It might go against your every impulse to deliberately tell falsehoods to your parent. But remember that doing so is often in their best interest.
For example, experts advise you not tell your loved one that she is moving permanently. Individuals in the early stages of dementia often believe that they are capable of taking care of themselves. Telling them otherwise can make them feel angry and frustrated unnecessarily.
Many people tell their parent that their current home needs to be renovated or fumigated. Another common fiblet is they are only staying in the memory care facility for a week or so. These fiblets can soften what would otherwise be a devastating blow.
Packing and Making the Move
It’s best if you can remove your parent or loved one from their current home while you to pack the belongings that will make the transition with them. If that’s not possible, another good fiblet to use is that you are “straightening up” or “spring cleaning.”
Similarly, it will help the patient to have her personal care items, clothing, bric-a-brac, and other belongings already in place when she arrives. Even though this might seem to contradict what you’ve told them about this being a temporary stay, it actually helps them make the adjustment. Being surrounded by familiar objects can assist in keeping fear, confusion, and frustration at bay.
Moving a loved one to a memory care facility is not an easy decision, and you are bound to experience some very emotional days. Among the most trying times are moving day itself — and the days that follow. That’s because dementia caregiver experts recommend that you not visit your loved one for about a week after the move.
We know; it’s heartwrenching. The staff at your chosen memory care facility will reassure you that your parent is in good hands, is safe, and will be cared for. It’s a bit like leaving your child at sleepaway camp for the first time. It is difficult emotionally, but in everyone’s best interest for a smooth transition.
It’s important for you to understand that the memory care facility tries to meet your loved one where they are — physically, cognitively, and emotionally. Staff members will do what they can to help the new resident to meet others, take advantage of activities, and generally feel at home.
Any Transition Takes Time
Throughout the process of transitioning your senior relative to any long-term care facility, you will face challenges. Some of the most important tips on moving to memory care facility? Be patient, acknowledge that it can be difficult, celebrate small wins.
Remember that this is a stressful time. Treating one another with kindness and love will go a long way toward alleviating that stress and reinforcing familial bonds.
At Seasons, we provide compassionate, professional care at our two state-of-the-art facilities. We hope that this list of tips on moving your parent or other loved one to memory care has been helpful. We invite you to browse other informative articles on our blog.
Contact us to learn more about the amenities we provide, the approach we take to senior assisted living and memory care, or to ask any questions you might have.