Moving

  • Keep in mind that a person with dementia depends on his or her familiar setting for cues about what to do. Moving represents a major loss.
  • Get buy-in from your family and involve your loved one as much as possible while making the decision to move. Professional guidance can help.
  • A support group can help you deal with transition issues. If you’ve moved your loved one to a facility, look into its family support programs.

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At some point, your loved one’s condition may necessitate a move to a different care environment. Even if he or she opposes the move, involve your loved one in the plans for the move as much as possible.

Changes in surroundings are often disturbing for those with dementia, so be prepared for a period of adjustment. The person may be upset for a while and may take extra time to learn his or her way around the new space.

Bring Familiar Items

When moving your loved one to a facility, bring a few non-valuable items that hold special meaning for him or her. If possible, let your loved one choose the items.

On the day of the move, stay with your loved one at the facility and reassure him or her repeatedly that everything will be fine. Consider staying most of the day or having dinner at the residence. Visit frequently and for longer periods at the beginning, tapering off to shorter visits as the weeks progress and your loved one becomes more comfortable.

It’s helpful to make a list of suggestions, habits, patterns of behavior and other information for the staff. You may even ask a specific staff member to provide extra attention on the first shift during which your loved one will be alone.

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