Dementia 75

Transition to a Care Facility

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SMOOTHING THE TRANSITION ON MOVING DAY

Moving from one house to another can spur anxiety in almost anybody. For people with dementia, however, changes in routine and an unfamiliar environment can be especially stressful. Here’s some advice for making the transition to a new home or care facility as comfortable as possible for the person with dementia.

Add familiar touches. Even before you bring a loved one to a new home; it’s important that the room or space where the person will be is made to look and feel as familiar as possible.

When your loved one sees his or her things, it triggers that it’s your loved one’s own space — which is important. Some things you can do before the person moves in include:

  • Add a favorite quilt or piece of furniture, such as a chair, perhaps a shelf with special items, and other meaningful possessions belonging to the person.
  • Bring pictures of family and friends, memory books or photo albums. These are particularly important.

Reminiscing about the past is especially important for people with dementia, and items that enable them do this help create comfort and reduce anxiety. Label the pictures so staff will know the names of the people in them and can talk more knowingly about them.

Make a moving day plan:

Plan for the day that you will have to move your loved one. Talk to your loved one — while he or she can still make choices — about what he or she wants. Where does your loved one want to live? Explore all your housing options. Start talking before a move is imminent.

On the actual day, move your loved one during the “best” time of his or her day — whether morning or afternoon. This can also make the transition go more smoothly.

In addition, spend time during moving day reminiscing with your loved one, looking at photo albums or memory boxes. This activity is helpful not only for relieving anxiety in the person with the disorder but also for you.

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