Moving a Senior with Dementia

Choosing to move a Michigan senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease to an assisted living can be emotional. Because of the difficulties families frequently encounter while trying to keep their loved one safe at home, however, many adult children find they have no choice. Safety and special care needs require them to make this decision.

What can families do to prepare their loved one for a move to a memory care assisted living community?

Here are a few suggestions that can help make this transition go more smoothly:

  • Familiar Surroundings: Older adults who have Alzheimer’s disease usually benefit from familiar surroundings. Before moving day, work with the staff at their new community to recreate their familiar home environment. It will help decrease anxiety when their new home looks like their old one. Try to focus on what items remind them most of home. Can you bring their favorite chair? A quilt or throw they use every day? A stack of their old books and magazines can help make their new home more familiar even if they are no longer able to read them.
  • Photos and Memorabilia: Plan to bring both older and newer family photos to decorate their room. Remember that their memory loss may make it easier for them to identify older photos rather than new ones.
  • Activity Boxes: Create one or two activity boxes full of familiar items. It might be from their past employment or favorite hobbies. If your senior loved one was an accountant, for example, include a ledger, calculator, pencils and other objects they may have used for their job. For gardeners, an activity box might include photos of flower and vegetable gardens, garden gloves, small plastic pots, potting soil and seeds to them to plant.
  • Music Therapy: Remember the healing power of music. Bring a small CD player with their name engraved or etched in to it. Also bring a few of their favorite CDs. Encourage staff and family to play their favorite music for them if they seem anxious.
  • Reminiscence Board: Before the move, create a Reminiscence board for the staff of the community. Paste copies of photos of people who are important to your loved one on to the board along with a description of the photo. It will help staff get to know your aging parent more quickly and also be a nice for them to have on their wall to look at each day.

We hope these ideas help make the transition to a new environment a little easier for your senior loved one. If you live in Michigan and would like to learn more about memory care, we invite you to visit our Specialized Dementia Care resource page.

Heritage Senior Communities is pleased to announce that our newest community is open in Holland, Michigan. The Village at Appledorn West offers adults over the age of 55 one- and two-bedroom independent living apartments. The campus will also be home to an assisted living community that is projected to open in the spring of 2015.

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