Transitioning a loved one with Alzheimer’s to memory care can be a difficult and emotional process for everyone involved. However, memory care communities are designed specifically to provide the specialized care and support that individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia need.
Take your time investigating different care options, preparing for the move, and planning how you will continue supporting your loved one after they’ve settled in.
Finding a Local Care Community
The first step in any transition is researching options for memory care in your area. This should include researching different communities, their floor plans, and comparing the services and amenities they offer. In addition, you’ll want to consider factors such as location, cost, and the level of care provided.
Once you have a list of potential memory care communities, schedule some tours and visit each one. These visits will give you an opportunity to see the community firsthand, meet the staff and other residents, and get a sense of the overall atmosphere and culture of the community.
Try visiting at different times of the day, including mealtime, to get a complete understanding of how your potential community operates.
Picking the Right Community for Your Loved One
As you visit different memory care communities, pay attention to the level of care provided. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the staff, and ensure the answers are to your satisfaction.
Level of care might include the staffing ratio, the number of trained caregivers on staff, and the types of activities and programs offered to residents. Additionally, you should look for a clean, well-maintained community with a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.
If you don’t know what to ask, here are some sample questions you can use:
- Is medical care provided?
- What dementia care training are staff given?
- Are families involved in care planning?
- How can families get updates on a loved one’s condition?
- What sort of activities are offered?
- Is a meal plan provided? What kind of food is served?
When you have narrowed down your list of potential memory care communities, involve your loved one in the decision-making process as much as possible. This can be difficult, as individuals with advanced Alzheimer’s may not have the capacity to understand or participate in the decision-making process fully.
However, you can still involve them by showing them pictures of different communities, sharing information about options, and encouraging them to share their preferences and opinions.
Preparing for the Move-In
Once you have selected a memory care community, you’ll need to plan for the transition. This might include arranging for the sale or rental of your loved one’s current home, moving their belongings to their new residence, and helping them to adjust to their new living arrangements.
You should also plan for the emotional and psychological aspects of the transition. It can be hard to leave behind a familiar place, especially because someone with Alzheimer’s can get easily disoriented.
Keep reassuring your loved one and comfort them if they feel anxious. Help them to say goodbye to their home and familiar surroundings, as well as establish connections and friendships in their new community. Consider bringing along comfort tools, such as playing familiar music to help your loved one relax.
During the transition period, stay in close contact with your loved one and the staff of their memory care community. Plan for the move to take a few days, and ensure you’re only bringing essentials. Leave time for paperwork and prepare to check in when you can to monitor their progress and address any concerns that may arise.
After the Move
Once you’re done settling your loved one in their new memory care community, continue to be involved in their care and support. This might include visiting regularly, participating in activities and programs, and staying in touch with the staff. Make sure you know who the primary contact person is at the care community if you have questions or concerns.
Remember, transitioning to memory care does not mean you have abandoned your loved one. On the contrary, it is a decision made with love and care, ensuring they receive the best possible comfort and support for their condition. Memory care communities design their environments to be safe, secure, and nurturing for individuals with Alzheimer’s.
Memory Care Designed For Your Loved One
Transitioning a loved one with Alzheimer’s to memory care may not be easy, and you should maintain realistic expectations throughout the process. You should make this choice to support your loved one and find the community that best fits them.
At Fox Trail Memory Care in Park Ridge, we know care comes from focusing on people first. We want to be the community you choose. If you and your loved one are ready to make the transition, call us, book a tour, and experience the Fox Trail lifestyle.