Mom’s dementia or Alzheimer’s disease has progressed to the point where she needs more care than you can provide. If she now requires professional care to help her stay safe and comfortable, a senior living community offering memory care can be a sound option.
Adapting to new surroundings might be challenging for her because disruptions can be difficult for people with memory impairments. Keep these things in mind to make the move as comfortable as possible for her:
The surroundings of the memory care community should be specially designed for comfort and security. Residents with memory impairments may be very sensitive to noise, harsh lights and excessive activity. The communities you visit may have eliminated background noise such as overhead paging and used warm, familiar signs or colors to gently guide residents away from exits and toward the appropriate rooms. Some communities even design their memory care residences to resemble small neighborhoods.
- Introduce her
The staff members in memory care communities are highly trained in dementia and will be prepared to give Mom the best possible care. When you arrive at the community, introduce her to the staff and a few of the residents. These introductions may help her start making friends and feel more comfortable in her surroundings. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to ask them before you leave.
- Add familiar touches
Bringing Mom’s items to her new residence will help her acclimate. A soft blanket, pictures of her family and friends and other treasured items will help make her feel like she’s in a safe, familiar space. Her personal things also will distinguish her space from others and may make it easier for her to recognize where she is. While you’re moving in, play her favorite music—and ask the staff to play it to soothe her when you’re not there.
- Be considerate
When visiting Mom in the memory care community, treat it like it’s her home—because it is. Knock on the door before entering and tell her who’s there to visit. Request that everyone who visits Mom introduce themselves each time, as her memory impairment might prevent her from remembering even her closest relatives. Introductions help Mom maintain her self-esteem and dignity for as long as possible.
- Explore the outdoors
Many memory care communities have lush green areas and gardens designed specifically for residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Introduce Mom to these areas because strolling among gardens, fountains and footpaths can bring peace to even the most anxious residents. Sniff the flowers, listen for bird calls and encourage her to touch leaves and petals to engage her senses.
- Be positive
Although moving Mom might be stressful for both of you, it’s important for you to show a happy face. If she expresses feelings of anger or stress, validate her emotions but try to stay positive through the whole move—and afterward. Your demeanor may affect your mother’s perceptions of the move. And give the transition some time: Recognize that things might not be perfect at first, but as she settles in, she’ll begin to feel more comfortable in her new residence.
Life Care Services manages many memory care communities around the nation. To find a community near you, contact us at 515.875.4500.