Memory loss is a difficult diagnosis whether you are the parent who has been diagnosed or the adult child who is caring for the parent. Not only do you have to learn about Alzheimer's disease and it’s symptoms, but you now have to learn effective ways to manage their symptoms, communicate and plan for the future. An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis can leave many families unsure of what’s ahead, and many adult children wonder if caring for their loved one at home is a better option than moving them to a memory care community. The answer to this lies completely in what you, as the adult child and primary caregiver, are able to handle.
“When their parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, many adult children want to care for them at home,” says Diane Reier, Lifestyle Specialist at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, a senior living community in Prospect Heights, IL. “In the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease this might be easy, as your parent is able to do many of the same activities they used to be able to with little to no interference, but as Alzheimer’s progresses, it becomes more likely that expanding care needs, increasing demands and hectic schedules will make it harder for you to care for your parent alone.
“This fact makes many adult children upset and feel as though they’ve failed their parent,” says Diane. “While you may feel that you should have been able to fully care for your parent on your own, sometimes it’s just not possible. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it just means that you want the best care possible for them, making it necessary to either move to a memory care community or at least consider it. ”
When Is It Time to Consider a Memory Care Community?
Depending on your personal circumstances and the progression of your parent’s Alzheimer’s disease, you may consider memory care when you begin to notice some of the following issues, according to the Alzheimer’s Association®.
● They are no longer safe living at home.
● Falls are becoming more common
● Your parent needs more care than you can provide
● They are becoming depressed and giving up their hobbies
● Your parent is no longer taking care of themself
● Wandering is starting to occur more often or they get lost
● You are becoming burnt out and stressed
If you made a plan for future care with your parent after they were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, your next steps may be easier. Many families choose to write out a plan that will outline how they would like to be cared for and where, whether they prefer home or a memory care community. For those who planned on a community, they may have already picked one out and have a spot open for them, making it less stressful on their adult children. For those who didn’t plan for future care, it now becomes necessary to make a list of communities, tour them and choose one based on your parent’s preferences and care needs. No matter if you had a plan for future care or not, it’s still imperative to make your parent’s move to a memory care community as smooth as possible.
Tips to Help Move Your Parent with Alzheimer’s to Memory Care
When your parent has Alzheimer’s disease, moving them to a memory care community can be difficult even if you had mutually agreed to beforehand. It’s important to understand that this is a big change and that your parent may need some time to process what it happening. The Alzheimer’s Association® provides some tips for caregivers that can help to ease the transition. Try some or adapt them to your own needs in order to ensure a positive moving experience.
1. Try not to announce the move too far in advance. Announcing the move too far in advance could make your loved one stress, anxiety and even agitation. These behaviors could make the days and weeks leading up to the move even more stressful than they already are. The Alzheimer’s Association article suggests waiting until closer to the date of the move to announce it because of the potential for extreme behavior. Try to take your loved one to the community before the move so they can get acquainted or make new friends at some community social events.
2. Use fiblets* to make them more comfortable. While some may find this controversial, your loved one doesn’t have to know right away that this will be their long-term home. According to the article, using a small fib can help to make a transition smoother because both family members and the care team are working together to ensure the parent’s comfort, which can help them to make friends, enjoy their surroundings and look at this as a vacation until they feel more at-home.
*“Necessary white lies to redirect loved ones or discourage them from a behavior.
3. Talk to a doctor about medication. If you believe your loved one will not take the move well, talk to their doctor to see if there is a medication that can help reduce their anxiety. Have them take this medication the week leading up to the move, and after they become more comfortable in their surroundings, wean them off of it.
4. Make their room look as familiar as possible. Prior to the day your parent moves in, try to make their space look as much like home as possible. Take curtains from their home, use their favorite bedspread or one that looks like it and bring mementos. This can help their new space look more like home which will make them feel more comfortable in their new community.
5. Refrain from visiting the first week. While many adult children will find this difficult, refrain from visiting your parents within the first week. According to the article, you need to give them time to establish relationships with the staff and other residents, and visiting is going to interrupt that crucial time. It can also make the change harder for you, because they may ask to come home with you. If you are having a hard time staying away from your loved one, try talking to the staff members instead so you can get a better picture about how your loved one is doing.
While these suggestions may not work for your particular situation, it can help to make the transition less stressful and more smooth for you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. For more helpful tips and tricks that can help to ease your parent’s transition to memory care, call the team at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights today at 847-243-6920.
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Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.
Offering Independent, Assisted Living and A Knew Day Memory Support, Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights is a distinctive senior living community designed to offer seniors residing in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs area a fresh alternative to “typical” senior living communities.
Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights provides residents with the ideal balance of personalized support, dignified privacy and enhanced independence complemented by luxurious amenities and our life-enriching, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living®.
Managed by Pathway to Living®, an innovator in senior living, Aspired Living® offers the choice of a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartment and the beauty of a brand new community, stunningly appointed and decorated for unsurpassed comfort and style by the award-winning senior living design firm, Thoma-Holec Design, Inc.
For more information, please call Diane or Janette, Lifestyle Specialists, at 847-243-6920.
Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.