When it's Time to Move a Loved One Living with Dementia To Assisted Living
According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, over 55 million people currently live with dementia across the globe, and nearly 10 million new cases are diagnosed every year.
Do you have a loved one who’s struggling with dementia? Have you started to wonder if they need more specialized care than you can provide?
Read on to learn more about the most common signs that indicate a loved one with dementia is ready to move into an assisted living facility. You’ll also find some tips that will make the transition easier for everyone involved.
Does Your Loved One with Dementia Need Assisted Living?
Many people struggle to look at their loved ones objectively, especially when determining whether or not they need to move into an assisted living facility. If you’re having a hard time deciding if this level of care is right for your loved one, ask yourself the following questions about them and their condition:
Do They Forget to Take Their Medication?
If your loved one regularly forgets to take their medication, this is a sign that you need to consider professional intervention. In an assisted living facility, they will be on a strict medication schedule and won’t have to worry about forgetting to take their prescriptions.
Do They Have Mobility Issues?
Over time, people with dementia (as well as elderly people in general) tend to develop mobility issues. If your loved one is struggling to navigate their house on their own, they may benefit from the round-the-clock support they’ll receive at an assisted living facility.
Can They Keep Up with Activities of Daily Living?
Activities of daily living include things like bathing and dressing. If your loved one can’t handle these tasks on their own, the professionals at an assisted living facility can help you feel confident that they always have the support they need.
Do They Have Opportunities to Socialize?
Socialization is essential for people with dementia. It helps to minimize stress, depression, and other issues that can speed up the progression of the disease. By moving to an assisted living facility, your loved one will have more opportunities to socialize and will feel less lonely.
Do They Lack Proper Nutrition?
As their condition progresses, many people with dementia find it difficult to prepare meals and stick to a consistent eating schedule. In an assisted living facility, they’ll have access to professional chefs who prepare their meals, as well as caregivers who ensure they receive and eat them.
Are They Prone to Wandering?
If your loved one’s dementia has reached a point where they are prone to wandering, it’s time to consider assisted living.
Wandering is scary, stressful, and dangerous. To protect your loved one and protect your peace of mind, transitioning them to a secure assisted living facility is one of the best options.
(If your loved one is still at home and you are looking for a great way to help monitor wandering check out the RecallCue Dementia Day Clock!)
Are You Experiencing Caregiver Stress?
Finally, don’t forget about yourself. If you have been handling much of the caregiving for your loved one, you may be experiencing caregiver stress and burnout.
It’s normal to feel compelled to care for a loved one as they get older and their health declines, especially if they cared for you when you were young. You deserve to live a happy and peaceful life, too, though.
If caregiving has become so stressful that it’s preventing you from experiencing this, or if it’s contributing to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, it’s time to consider an alternate arrangement.
How to Tell Your Loved One It’s Time to Move
After answering these questions, you may have concluded that it is time to move your loved one with dementia into an assisted living facility. Now, your next challenge is communicating that decision to them.
Here are some tips that can help you have this difficult conversation productively:
Research Your Options
Do some research before sitting down with your loved one. Find assisted living facilities in your area and take note of their prices, the services they offer, and other factors that your loved one will likely ask about during your discussion.
When someone is told that they need to move into an assisted living facility, it’s normal for them to resist at first. Anticipate pushback (perhaps a lot of it) from your loved one and plan some responses to their arguments.
Use Positive Language
Do your best to use a positive tone and positive language when discussing the transition to an assisted living facility. Focus on the benefits they’ll experience by living in this kind of place, rather than what they’ll be leaving behind.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
At the same time that you’re positively talking about the future, make sure you’re also acknowledging your loved one’s feelings. It’s okay for them to feel scared or sad about moving to a new place, and it’s helpful for you to validate those emotions.
Let the Conversation Be Ongoing
It’s okay if you don’t agree after one discussion. Encourage your loved one to think about the move and plan to come back to the topic later, after they’ve had a chance to digest the information you’ve shared with them.
Tips for Transitioning to Assisted Living
Perhaps your loved one agrees that it’s time for them to move to an assisted living facility. However, they will likely still struggle with the transition, especially if they’ve been living alone for a long time. If this is the case, use the following strategies to make the transition a little smoother:
Visit the Facility Before Moving Day
Take a trip (or two or three) to the assisted living facility before your loved one’s move-in day. This gives them a chance to get familiar with the grounds and layout of the place.
Meet with Caregivers and Staff
During your visit, arrange to meet with the caregivers and staff who will be overseeing your loved one. Help them start building relationships early.
When helping your loved one pack, resist the urge to pack too many things. Don’t overwhelm them with tons of clothing options, for example. Instead, stick to the basics so that they don’t have to make too many choices.
Bring Comfort Items from Home
Be sure to include some comfort items from home when packing for your loved one. This could be a quilt from their bed, photos of loved ones, or even some favorite decorations from around the house.
Schedule the Move-In with Care
Plan the move-in day and time carefully to set your loved one up for success. For example, if you know that they are more energetic and focused in the morning, plan their move for that time, rather than later in the day when they’re more tired and forgetful.
Take Care of Yourself
Moving your loved one into an assisted living facility will undoubtedly be difficult for you, even if it does also provide a sense of relief. Be sure to prioritize practicing self-care to manage your stress during this tumultuous period.
The decision to move a loved one with dementia into an assisted living facility is never an easy one. Keep the tips and guidelines outlined above in mind, though, and you’ll feel much more confident about your choice and will be better prepared to help your loved one transition into this new living situation.