As your loved one’s memory declines, or as the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease become too much for the family or caregivers to handle, you will have to make the decision to place them in a specialised dementia care home. Although there is a certain stigma surrounding care homes for the elderly, it is important to understand that dementia care homes offer social opportunities, cognitive engagement, and an enhanced quality of life for those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. If your parent or loved one has been diagnosed with dementia and you’ve made the decision to move them to a dementia care home, here’s some helpful advice:
1. Before approaching your parent or loved one about moving to a dementia care facility, contact family members who may be involved in the decision to ensure a united and supportive front.
2. During the conversation, listen to understand and be empathetic with your responses of hesitation or denial. We also suggest using supportive body language and visual cues. As dementia advances, confusion intensifies and physical signalling becomes even more crucial. Provide reassurance throughout the conversation by making eye contact, smiling, and even holding your loved one’s hand.
3. If your parent is hostile about their dementia diagnosis or denies their symptoms, consider involving their primary care doctor or neurologist. This can lend credibility. If they are particularly close to a certain family member or religious leader, then you could ask for their assistance as well.
4. Focus on the benefits of specialised dementia care and let them know that the caregivers at the dementia care home are compassionate and skilled. Mention the different memory activities available, the pet-friendly grounds and beautiful sensory gardens for them to explore.
4. Visit a few dementia care facilities before mentioning them to your parent. This way, you can reference specific memory care activities and amenities that your think your parent or elderly loved one will appreciate. Once you have decided on the facility, you could arrange a viewing or ask for your parent to participate as a day visitor.
5. Pack sentimental and special items. Don’t be discouraged to pack photo frames, their favourite blanket or even furniture items. At Livewell, many residents move into their suites with some of their personal belongings. This helps to ease the transition and turn their suite into a familiar setting.
6. Align moving time with your loved one’s best time of day. “Schedule their moving time to coincide with their best time of the day. For example, if they are at their best in the morning and worst around sundown, plan to arrive at the assisted living early in the day. It will allow you time to get them settled and comfortable while they are at their best.” – Moving a Loved One with Dementia, Elmcroft Senior Living.
In emergency situations where a loved one’s life is at risk, families can stand firm in their decision to move a parent to a dementia care home, leaning on legal tools like the power of attorney or guardianship when necessary. If you are in a similar situation and need advice, please contact our specialised dementia care team.