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5 Tips for Transitioning a Parent into Memory Care

old people putting together puzzle discussing moving into senior memory care

Your parents were there for you, taking care of you as you grew up, celebrating your milestones, and supporting you in hard times. Now they are the ones who need care. The transition between cared-for and care-giver can be challenging and emotional, and the reverse—shifting from a position of strength to one of vulnerability—is tough on your parents too. When there are issues of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, decision making can be even more fraught. Yet it is possible to help your parent move into senior memory care without undue strain on either of you.

For help figuring out the steps you need to take to ensure the safety and security of your senior parents with dementia, reach out to Buckner Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo, TX. We have professional staff who are experts in caring for seniors dealing with dementia and ready to guide you during this potentially challenging time. Call 325.313.7931 or use our online form to contact us.

Is It Time for Senior Memory Care?

If you have been worrying about and caring for a parent with dementia, you are probably having conversations with yourself and family members about what the best thing to do might be. It’s OK to admit that it’s hard to separate emotions from the equation.

If any of the following is true, your parent is probably ready to transition into memory care:

  • A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. The acknowledgment that dementia has begun is when you know that there is no turning back. Symptoms can often be slowed but, unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia. Professional care is necessary.
  • Lack of social interaction. As your parent’s dementia takes hold, difficulty functioning independently in social situations can lead to isolation and loneliness, which in turn exacerbate symptoms. Memory care provides daily interaction with others, which eases feelings of loneliness.
  • Poor overall health. If your parent is struggling with regular meals, hygiene, or keeping track of money or medication, continued health concerns will plague them. Round-the-clock care is the best way to ensure health outcomes are optimal.
  • Your well-being is suffering. As the caregiver, if you have reached your limit and can no longer provide adequate care to your parent without compromising your own mental and physical health, it’s time to consider moving your parent into senior memory care.

Moving Your Parent into Senior Memory Care

Here are five tips that can ease the disruption and emotional toll of this transition:

1. Acknowledge their concerns 

When you begin the process of moving your parents to memory care, they will be concerned, want to know why, tell you it is not a good idea, and perhaps tell you they are scared or angry. It is tempting to try shining a positive light on the situation at the expense of acknowledging that their feelings are valid and real. Using empathy as you listen and respond will ease their anxiety, even if you have to do it more than once when they forget where or why they are moving.

2. Present a united, compassionate front 

To ease confusion and stress, the entire family needs to use the same language and talking points when speaking to the senior transitioning into memory care. Their bewilderment and anxiety can trigger your own fears and sadness, but try not to let them see that. You are doing this for your parent’s safety and wellbeing. Sticking to that and other simple messages is best.

3. Do the packing yourself 

Seeing your home dismantled one framed photograph at a time is disorienting and upsetting for anyone, and even more so for a parent with dementia who may not understand what is going on or why. There is no reason to let your parent see that process. If you can pack up their important items, mementos, clothing, comfort items, and other belongings while they are asleep or on an extended outing with another family member, you will avoid much upset.

4.  Create a space that looks, feels, and smells like home

Once you have packed up your parent’s treasured belongings, clothes, and keepsakes, have everything moved in and set up prior to your parent’s arrival if you possibly can. Pictures hung on the wall, a favorite afghan spread across a comfortable chair, fresh bread from their favorite bakery filling the air with good smells—these simple things can increase the release of endorphins to counteract stress and shock.

5. Follow up often after the move 

One of the hardest things for your parent may be not having you around all the time. Ease that hardship by visiting as much as you reasonably can and asking your parent how they are. Be prepared for potentially uncomfortable conversations and questions, but remember that your openness to hearing what they have to say will, in itself, ease their anxiety. Remind them when you will be back next and how to find your phone number in their phone if they need you. Talk to staff to find out how your parent is doing between your visits. They may be doing better than you fear.

Memory Care at Baptist Retirement Community

Your senior parents with dementia are particularly vulnerable, and the responsibility for caring for them can be overwhelming. Let Buckner’s Baptist Retirement Community help your parent make a smooth transition into memory care. Our staff is highly skilled and very experienced, as well as caring and kind. We promise that your parent will be in good hands.

Call 325.313.7931 or use our online form to learn more and have your worries put to rest.