Ask How Theyre Feeling About Their Transition To Memory Care
Emotional situations also stand out as an active listening opportunity. During these moments, delve into your family members mindset to deepen your understanding and bond.
You want to meet them where they are, says Noack. Ask questions, like, Where is home? They may describe it as the home they grew up in. When theyre upset and confused, ask questions about what theyre thinking and feeling.
This approach to communication may help you know what to expect the next time your senior loved one is upset or disoriented, as well as provide insights into whats causing these emotions.
Tips For How To Move A Parent With Dementia Into Assisted Living Or Memory Care
Moving a parent into an assisted living or memory care community can feel overwhelming, especially when there are so many decisions to make that will directly impact the level of care your loved one will receive.
The process of moving a parent is emotional and can have its fair share of logistical challenges.
We know you want what is best for your loved one and so do we. Thats why weve put together this list with ten tips on how to move a parent with dementia into assisted living or memory care.
Give The Home All The Information You Can
You have the advantage of knowing your family member, their history, their likes and dislikes. Share that information with the staff as this makes it easier for staff to get to know your loved one to ensure they are giving the appropriate care.Share things such as the best time of day for a shower, what they really like/dislike to eat, or the nickname that they loved to be called. When you share these things, your loved one is more likely to respond positively to the staff and the staff to your loved one since they know him as a person, not just a resident.
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Stick To A Simple Family Script
Before the memory care move comes the memory care conversation. Likely, youll need to frequently remind your parent that theyre moving. Because moving to memory care often involves the whole family, many different voices and opinions may chime in, which can overwhelm seniors with dementia.
To curb disorientation and reassure your senior loved one, establish a script or a straightforward, comforting response that each family member can return to again and again.
Be concise, says Noack, who worked in five senior living communities before becoming a Senior Living Advisor. Everyone in the family needs to use the same verbiage.
Keep the message simple you could tell your aging relative Youre going to your new home, or This is a place where youll be safe.
Work To Establish Relationships With Future Caregivers
The caregivers in the assisted living or memory care community you choose will soon be very important people in your loved ones life.
Establishing good relationships with those caregivers is beneficial for everyone involved.
If possible, encourage a time or space for your loved one to share their story with a caregiver. Or, feel free to share on behalf of your loved one.
The important thing is to facilitate a conversation so that your parent feels more comfortable. In turn, the caregiver will feel more comfortable with your parent and be more equipped to help them settle in.
The more personal information and stories shared with the caregiver in the beginning, the easier it will be for the caregiver to provide meaningful moments and connect with your loved one.
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Effects Of Moving Person With Dementia
The impact of moving a person with dementia can be overwhelming. You may choose to take care of all aspects of the move in advance so your parent wont become overwhelmed. For example, on moving day, you can make a plan to move them during the best part of their day. Moving your loved one when theyre tired is only going to make things more challenging.
Moving A Parent To Memory Care During Covid
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupts many routine elements of moving a parent to memory care. Instead of taking a firsthand role in the moving process, caregivers may have to leave the bulk of tasks to the staff. New residents might also have to quarantine upon move-in, and visitors will face additional screening and safety protocols.
These circumstances make clear communication even more essential. When moving a parent to senior living during the COVID-19 pandemic, Noack recommends asking the following questions:
- Is there a quarantine period for seniors moving into a memory care community? If so, how long are new residents expected to isolate?
- What role can families play in the move while maintaining safety and following established protocols?
- What activities and programming opportunities are in place for residents during the pandemic?
- In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case, how will communities keep residents safe and prevent a potential outbreak?
- How does the community handle caregiver visits during COVID-19? Are visitors expected to quarantine ahead of time, take a test, wear a mask, or see their senior loved one in an outdoor setting? Be clear on these expectations and regulations.
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Choose A Community Specializing In Memory Care
Not all assisted living communities are created equal, and many of them arent equipped to adequately care for residents with Alzheimers or dementia. Moving is challenging enough, and the last thing you want to do is have to move your parent a second time unless you absolutely must, so it is important to select the right community specializing in memory care.
Use theseQuestions to Ask When Visiting Memory Care Communities to help you select the best new home for your loved one.
Give One Instruction At A Time
Granted, this is sometimes easier said than done when life gets busy and youre in a rush!
Still, giving one instruction at a time can make communication much easier.
Multi-tasking is hard enough for adults without cognitive impairments, so you can imagine what it might be like for those living with dementia.
It may take your parent a while to get their words out, so hold back from asking further questions before theyre able to answer.
Repeating the question or rephrasing it slightly differently can help move the conversation along.
Try to give your loved one at least 20-30 seconds to respond.
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When Your Elderly Parent Refuses Assisted Living
There will be times when an elderly parent refuses help. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon, and while some things can be discussed, other methods may be introduced to help convince your parent its ultimately for the best. It may not be wise or tactful to approach this touchy subject by telling them outright that they require extra help remembering things.
Its better to let your loved senior know youre concerned about their welfare and that you genuinely worry about them because you love them. In many instances, mom or dad may not want to leave the family home or be taken away from loved ones, pets, or cherished objects. Understandably, they feel safe with their established environment, but if youre reading this, they probably need a deeper level of care to thrive in their old age.
Be Respectful When Broaching The Subject Of Moving
Respect is important and should be given. This means acknowledging your parentâs 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.
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Compassionate Considerations For How To Move A Parent With Dementia To Assisted Living
According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 10 million new diagnoses of dementia annually. This is a staggering statistic, but nothing is quite as overwhelming as when your loved one becomes one of those 10 million. When your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia, you suddenly find yourself making many decisions about their current and future care.
Many seniors living with dementia can live at home successfully during the early stages of the disease as long as they have support and resources from helpful family members and neighbors. Unfortunately, due to the progressive nature of dementia, living at home alone or with a partner is not sustainable for the long term.
Here are a few warning signs that it could be time to move into an assisted living community, specifically to enjoy the benefits of memory care interventions.
Finding A Memory Care Community
Finally, whenever possible, include your loved one in the process of finding a memory care community. While investigating your options, you should make observations that could indicate exceptional care, such as:
- A dining program that encourages choice as well as adaptations when needed
- An engaging and fun activity calendar that features programs throughout the day
- Staff who are specially trained in memory care techniques
- Meaningful relationships between staff and residents
- A safe environment and a calm atmosphere
- Family support groups and other resources
- Events that encourage family members to get involved
To see exceptional memory care in action, contact your local Arbor Company community today. Our communities are dedicated to dementia education for all staff members, and we use innovative programming to keep our residents safe, happy, healthy, and engaged.
Learn more about assisted living in our free download, The Complete Guide to Assisted Living. Youll discover assisted living options, costs, and how to make the transition as smooth as possible.
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Later Stages Of Dementia
In the later stages of dementia, people often need more care and are unable to live at home. At this point, 24-hour care may be necessary.
Medicare pays for only the first 100 days in a nursing home facility. After 100 days, nursing home care can be paid using your personal resources, Medicaid, or a combination of the two.
Medicaid covers memory care units in nursing homes. Staff in these units have specialized training in caring for people with dementia.
Medicare will pay for hospice care for people who have been determined to have less than 6 months to live. Hospice care includes doctor, nursing, and personal care prescription drugs and counseling for patient and family.
Moving A Parent To Assisted Living: 12 Strategies To Ease The Transition
Moving a parent, even a willing one, into assisted living, or any senior living facility, is fraught with emotion. Your parents may mourn the loss of their younger years, their independence, the home they built. They could be scared about aging, making new friends, finding their way in a new place.
You may be mourning all of those things too. You may second-guess your decision. Did we act too quickly? Overreact? Wait too long? And you will feel guilt. Guilt is inevitable. Know that all of these feelings are normal and dont need to last forever. And keep these 12 strategies in mind as you make the transition:
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Dont Let Your Guilt Overwhelm You
Its nearly impossible not to feel guilty about moving your parent into memory care, especially if its not what they want. The reality is that you shouldnt feel guilty because youre doing something necessary to improve their safety and quality of life.
If youre feeling very overwhelmed by it all, dont forget to take care of yourself.
You might join a support group or talk to a therapist. You should remind yourself as many times as necessary that what youre doing is an act of love.
Moving Your Parent Into Memory Care
Again, this is one of the toughest things youll do during the entire disease process.
Its really important you keep a couple of things in mind as the foundation to everything else you do related to moving your parent into memory care. Number one, be compassionate.
Number two, know where your parent is in the disease process. Why is this important? Because you can correlate this to a mental age using the Functional Assessment Staging Test .
Heres an example: at stage 5, people are no longer able to survive without assistance. This is typically when youll start thinking about moving your parent into memory care. At this point, your parent will have a mental age of a 5 to 7 year-old.
But when do you actually pull the trigger on moving your parent into memory care? For most families, its around stage 6c , 6d , or 6e . At these points in the disease process, youre looking at a mental age of a 2 to 4 year-old.
So, with that information tucked away, consider the following sections on how and when to talk to your parent about moving into memory care.
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Take Advantage Of Counseling Services & Transition Programs
This is a major physical transition, to be sure, but its also a major emotional transition for everyone involved.
Often, spouses and family members are the most dramatically affected as they watch their loved one settle seamlessly into place while the rest of the family is experiencing a sense of grief. If your parent opts to move into assisted living in the earlier stages of dementia, you may find support from a counselor valuable who can help you or your family process the complex array of emotions the transition elicits.
If youve been an integral part of your parents dementia care, we suggest reading,Adjusting to LifeAfter Being a Caregiver, which offers nourishing tips on how to handle your next steps.
When In Doubt Remember The 10 Principles Of Communication From Naomi Feils Validation Therapy
Validation Therapy by Naomi Feil was created between the 1960s and 1980s as a set of guidelines for communicating with older adults.
Feil grew frustrated by the focus on reminding people with dementia of everyday reality, rather than working with the person with dementias new reality.
Her answer to this communication issue?
As Feil states, validation doesnt cure but it restores their dignity and their feelings of self-worth. Its a way of being with them, of stepping into their world, feeling what they feel.
She found that the more those in later stages of Alzheimers were forced to face reality in the wrong situations, the more they withdrew or became distressed.
To improve this area of dementia care and communication in what she calls old-old age , she came up with 10 principles that can be helpful to refer to as guidelines:
- There is a reason behind the behavior of disoriented old-old people.
- All people are unique and must be treated as individuals.
- Painful feelings that are expressed, acknowledged, and validated by a trusted listener will diminish. Painful feelings that are ignored or suppressed will gain strength.
- Behavior in old-old age is not merely a function of anatomic changes in the brain but reflects a combination of physical, social, and psychological changes that take place over the lifespan.
- All people are valuable, no matter how disoriented they are.
- Old-old people must be accepted non judgmentally.
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Warning Signs That It Could Be Time To Move
All seniors are unique, and dementia progresses differently for everyone. However, there are some warning signs that could indicate that a move to senior living would be the safest and healthiest decision:
- Recent and frequent falls in the past few months
- Wandering outside of the home and becoming lost
- Increased confusion in general
- Inability to manage daily household tasks
There Is No Reason To Feel Guilty
No matter what you do, you will likely hear this plea again no matter what you do or say. This will hurt your heart, but understanding that the home the person wants likely no longer exists can help minimize the guilt you feel. Even if you were to pack your loved one up and take them to their last home, they probably wouldnt be satisfied because they may not remember it or its not really the home they are longing for. Deep down, they want to go to their childhood home from decades ago, not the place where they were living before their move to a senior living facility.
So, arm yourself with understanding and acceptance. This is yet another dementia-related behavior that simply cannot be fixed. Distraction and redirection can sometimes help keep this demand at bay for a while, but the pleas will continue until they are replaced with another obsession or behavior. Sometimes we just have to try our best and deal with it.
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