8 Tips to Help Ease Your Loved One to a Memory Care Community
Moving into assisted living or a memory care community can be hard on both the individual and their family. The good news, there is so much family members can do to ease the transition. Here are 8 tips that will bring more ease into the initial assisted living memory care experience:
- Help set up the room ahead of time with favorite furniture, pillow, blanket, photos, books and familiar items. There is nothing worse than a bare room with no pictures and no personal references for the new resident. These familiar items will serve as transitional objects for the person and bring some of the home they left behind into their new environment.
- Make your loved one’s personal preferences known to the staff. The more information you provide the community on the admission paperwork, the better, including daily routines, present and past.
- Make sure he or she has an ample supply of their favorite snacks or drinks.
- Give the staff a list of your loved one’s favorite music. Bring CDs and a music player or an iPod pre-loaded with the person’s favorite tunes. Music can help engage and build an instant rapport. It can also help calm the anxiety and agitation that often arise during the course of such a major move.
- Share with the staff what makes your loved one sense of self and self-esteem. This is best accomplished by figuring out what important part of the person’s identity can be activated in the new environment. Was the person a gardener? Maybe he or she can be encouraged to help with the community garden.
- Make sure the person comes with a complete wardrobe and enough change of clothes. Keep the choices and options simple. Don’t over pack. Check that the clothes are the right size, and shoes and slippers fit correctly. Choose clothes that are easy to take on and off and yet still preserve the person’s dignity. Bring their favorite toiletries. Also check with the community staff on what toiletries they can have. These are small things that can make a huge difference.
- Introduce predictability in your communications with the person. Let the community know what to expect from your love one and how to communicate with you.
- Leave your personal guilt and anxiety at the door. Persons with memory loss tend to easily pick up on others’ emotions and the last thing they need during this time is the added stress of their relatives and friends. Let the past go and for additional encouragement join a support group.
Remember, each one of these eight steps can make a huge difference in how your loved one adjusts to his new living environment!