A health visitor helping a senior woman sitting on bed at home.

Helping Your Loved One Adjust to a Memory Care Community

When the time comes to move your loved one to a community for memory, dementia or Alzheimer’s care, you have to prepare for the transition. Your emotions may be running even higher than you thought when you think about the moving day. Here are a few ways you can alleviate some of your concerns.

Tips to ease the transition

Learn ahead of time about the community’s policies for move-in day. Meet the social worker who handles those details. Do you know where to park? Where and what time can movers start and end their day? Where will your loved one be during the moving time?

Decide what to pack

At this stage in their life, you may not want to ask your loved one what to bring or leave behind. With memory loss, Alzheimer’s, dementia or another form of cognitive decline, decision-making and any process with many steps can present challenges. If you don’t already know which objects or knickknacks are most important to bring for your loved one, spend some time observing what things around their home they use and enjoy on a regular basis.

Bring familiar touches

Before the move, bring along items to make your loved one’s new room or space look and feel as familiar as possible. Think about how you can decorate the area with a treasured quilt, a shelf with special items, a favorite chair or other meaningful possessions. Familiar belongings can trigger feelings of connectedness and ownership, as well as boost your loved one’s sense of security.

Fill the space with pictures of loved ones and friends or photo albums. Reminiscing about the past can help a person who has Alzheimer’s bring reassuring memories into the present. Label the pictures to help staff members or others identify the people in your loved one’s life and encourage conversations about the past.

When you do prepare your loved one’s space, be careful with heirlooms and priceless or irreplaceable items. Consider keeping expensive pieces at home and bringing them by occasionally for conversations or special occasions. Instead, bring items that can be replaced easily if necessary, such as costume jewelry or copies of old photos.

Consider the time of day

You’ll want to schedule the move time to coincide with the best part of your loved one’s day. If your loved one is at their best in the morning and worst around sundown, plan to arrive at the memory care center early in the day of the move. It will allow time to get them settled in and comfortable while they are at their most attentive.

Attend virtual events prior to move-in

Register for our virtual events so your loved one can become familiar with some of the activities, staff and residents ahead of time.

Share information with staff

The Mayo Clinic suggests giving details on your loved one’s medical and mental health history to the community’s staff. In addition, speak with them about the interests and hobbies your loved one likes. Share your loved one’s story with the professionals at the dementia care community so the conversations can continue.

Arrange for a favorite meal

Packing and relocating takes a lot of energy – physically, emotionally and mentally. Make a special request from the dining room to prepare your loved one’s favorite meal the day of move-in, and sit down and enjoy it with them.

At Stratford Commons Memory Care Community, we encourage residents, when ready, to try to get out each day. As you and your loved one become familiar with our daily programs, they may relax and feel more comfortable. Check out the activity calendar to see what your loved one would like to participate in, or they’re welcome to relax in some of our comfortable common areas to catch up on community conversations.

Ask plenty of questions

We try to keep you informed and explain every aspect of our community. When your loved one first moves here, you’ll have lots of questions, and we welcome them. Our door is always open.

Allow us to help break the ice

Staff and other residents will help orient your loved one to the community and introduce them to others. We’re eager, ready and waiting to help residents develop a real sense of belonging.

Give us your feedback

We listen to our residents and their families. If you have opinions, ideas, compliments or constructive feedback for us, we’re open to suggestions. It is possible to ease your doubts about helping your loved one adjust to a memory care facility. We can help. If you have questions about memory care or Stratford Commons Memory Care Community, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation and meet our staff.