According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Despite the tremendous dedication so many have shown their loved ones, there often comes a time when a higher level of support such as memory care is needed.
If you’re considering transitioning a loved one to memory care, this article will discuss exactly what memory care is, how to prepare for the change and the options available from Friendship Village of Bloomington.
What is Memory Care?
Memory care is a specific type of care provided at a senior living community for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Residents live full-time in a supportive environment where professional caregivers are available to provide direct care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
At memory care communities such as Friendship Village of Bloomington, residents enjoy their own private residence and have access to community amenities. Compassionate team members work with each individual to create a custom wellness plan that addresses their physical, emotional and social needs. This may include everything from assistance with dressing and bathing to medication management.
The supportive memory care environment also offers specialized activities designed to help residents reconnect with their favorite pastimes, creating a sense of purpose, belonging and comfort.
3 Things to Do Before a Move to Memory Care
Deciding it’s the right time to transition a loved one to memory care, is a big step. However, there’s still plenty of planning and preparation needed to make the change go as smoothly as possible. Here are three actions you can take before a move to memory care.
Make a Plan
Because the needs of each individual are different, it helps to have a specific plan in place for everything that’s required for the transition. This could include budgeting for monthly care expenses, updating important documents, creating a packing list, detailing medications and dietary needs, and scheduling a specific time and date for move in. Having a plan limits surprises to make the change easier for your loved one.
Stick to the Schedule
Creating a well-established schedule and sticking to it helps everyone involved in the move. It allows family members time to process and prepare for the change, and also ensures the community is ready to make your loved one feel welcomed and comfortable as soon as they walk in the door. It’s often recommended to schedule the move for the morning, when those suffering from dementia are typically more aware and alert.
Prepare Personal Touches
Even if both you and your loved one know it’s time for memory care, a big change can be jarring initially. To reduce the impact, go to the community in advance and prepare their residence. Make sure they have all the comforts of home they’re used to, as well as any items like photos that provide familiarity. With everything already settled and moved, you can focus your energy on the emotional transition during moving day.
How to Handle Memory Care Moving Day
When moving day finally arrives it can be filled with feelings ranging from anxiety and guilt to excitement and relief. The best way to navigate this rollercoaster is to stick to the plans you made and follow these general guidelines.
- Don’t overstay. As hard as it can be, don’t turn moving day into a big family event that lasts for hours. It’s better to help your loved one get settled in their space, then allow them the freedom to explore activities and meet neighbors and team members on their own.
- Trust the team. Memory care team members are highly skilled at what they do, and have experience in these sometimes difficult transitions. Though letting go of control is challenging, there’s a reason you enlisted their help. Try to follow their advice and let them take the lead as much as possible.
- Ask for updates. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay informed, especially in the early days of the move to memory care. Team members will gladly provide updates over the phone or send photos. It’s also best to direct day-of-move updates through the team to avoid confusion for your loved one.
After the Move to Memory Care
The days and weeks after the move to memory care may be highly emotional. Trust your plan and use these few simple steps to guide you along the way.
- Limit your visits. Allow your loved one to get immersed in their new community and hold off on any visits for the first couple of weeks.
- Give the decision time. When you have a loved one contacting you and asking to come home, it’s difficult to say no. Trust your plan and give it time. Meeting new friends or discovering interesting activities can turn their feelings around overnight.
- Take care of yourself. Both you and your loved one are going through a major transition. Though you may be used to the role of caregiver, it’s important to take care of yourself. Talk about your feelings with trusted friends and family, and lean on the experience of the community’s memory care team.
Explore Memory Care Options at Friendship Village of Bloomington
At Friendship Village of Bloomington, we have a wide range of health services, from skilled nursing to memory care. Our top priority is ensuring the wellness of residents, helping them pursue their passions and get the most out of each day.