For a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, relocation can be a traumatic experience. Caregivers and families should know what to expect and what will be required to transition a loved one into alzheimer’s care. A little preparation will make the process easier at a very difficult time.
Make a Checklist
Moving into a new home can be a chaotic time for everyone involved, but even more so for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Here are some helpful tips to make the road a little less bumpy for everyone:
- Before moving in, plan a visit to the facility with the patient. At this time, try to get a list of staff members who will be taking care of the patient.
- The facility will need a series of medical forms filled out. Talk to the patient’s physician ahead of time to make sure all the necessary paperwork is complete and to review the patient’s current medications.
- Make sure the patient’s personal possessions and clothes are labeled with his or her name.
- Make arrangements with a moving company, if necessary.
- Put together a scrapbook of photos of the resident, and his or her family and friends. This will be a nice keepsake to bring along.
- Talk to the staff and see what they provide and what you need to bring (for example, personal care items). Also see what items should be left behind.
Acquaint Staff With the Patient
It’s important to help the facility staff get to know the person during the intake process. A list of key information about the patient is a great way to smooth the transition. This document can include: some details on the person’s behavior; any preferred interests, activities, and foods; a list of friends and family who plan to visit; abilities (for example, can he or she still communicate verbally); and a summary of his or her background, including where the patient grew up and the type of work he or she did.
Anticipate Some Discomfort
Most likely, a patient will take some time to acclimate to a new home. Caregivers and families should expect to be confronted with confusion, anger, denial, anxiety and grief. About one-third of people need at least two months before they begin to adjust, meaning they start to watch activities if they were not joining them before or they only request to leave three times daily, instead of 10.
Family and friends should talk to the staff to see how often they should visit during this initial adjustment period. (Definitely plan to accompany the new resident on the first day.) Some patients will want to see loved ones frequently; for other people, time alone helps them along in the process.
It’s probably best to visit right away after placement. If this agitates them, wait a couple days before trying again. Also, consider regularly calling the staff to check on the progress. Of course, feel free to visit frequently after the patient adjusts.
Journey at Evergreen Health & Rehab
At Journey at Evergreen Health & Rehab, we provide 24-hour care and specialized programming for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory challenges. For more information about our 26-bed, secured unit, visit http://www.evergreenwinchester.com/nursing-home/journey-at-evergreen-health-rehab.