A senior couple with the male's arm around the female while they look at a photo album

Moving an Alzheimer’s affected parent or senior loved one into an assisted living or memory care community is a major transition. It’s an emotional journey, and there will undoubtedly be ups and downs along the way.

You and your family can be better prepared to move a parent with dementia to memory care while making sure they get the best care by keeping a handy list of advice and tips.

Plan the Move

If at all possible, begin developing a long-term care plan as soon as dementia is diagnosed. If your parent or loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia and is in the early stages, planning ahead to find the right community allows them to be a part of the process, which can make moving day go more smoothly.

When planning the move, be honest with your loved one and provide as much information as possible. If they become agitated or resistant, enlist the help of other caregivers, family members, and the person’s health care provider in explaining the importance of the move.

Make an effort to move during a memory care activity that your loved one might enjoy, such as an art class, singalong, or bingo game. Experience the benefits of memory care right away to reduce moving day stress while also allowing your family member to meet new friends and get a feel for their new daily routine.

Don’t Overpack

Your loved one’s new room will almost certainly be smaller than their current one, and clutter creates confusion and trip hazards. If you haven’t heard from the assisted living community’s director or staff about what to bring from home, give them a call to find out how much is “just enough” to bring.

Some communities provide furnishings, but you should be able to bring personal touches from home, such as a favorite chair, wall art, personalized bedding, a CD player, or iPod/docking station to play your loved one’s favorite music.

A mother and daughter smiling at each other as the communicate openly about the move to memory care at a senior living community

Communicate Openly

On the day of the move, your parent may request to return home, ask why they are in memory care, or express other forms of distress.

In these situations, show empathy. Be supportive and express your understanding of how difficult this transition is for your loved one. While remaining sensitive to their current emotions, assure them that the situation will be beneficial in the long run.

They can explore the community and begin acclimating to their new surroundings while you are unpacking the final additions to your loved one’s memory care room.

Emotional situations provide an opportunity for active listening as well. Try to understand and bond with your family member during these times by delving into their mindset.

Inquire about their thoughts and feelings when they are upset or confused. This method of communication may help you understand what to expect the next time your senior loved one is upset or confused, as well as provide insights into what is causing these emotions.

Choose a Community with Memory Care

Not all assisted living communities are the same, and many of them lack the resources needed to care for residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Moving is difficult enough, and the last thing you want to do is have to move your parent again unless absolutely necessary, so selecting the right memory care community is critical.

Hire a Senior Move Manager

A senior move manager is specially trained to work with seniors. The majority of movers are only trained to pack and transport a household from one location to another. A senior move manager is someone who specializes in moving seniors, who have different needs and concerns than younger generations.

Their training allows them to reduce the chaos and stress that seniors may feel as a result of moving to an assisted living community. The senior move manager is in charge of everything from initial space planning to post-move settling in and support.

Other responsibilities of senior move managers include:

  • Coordination of day of move details
  • Assisting with the packing and unpacking of belongings
  • Arranging belongings in the new home to make it feel safe, comfortable, and like home.
  • Making plans to donate or sell unwanted items
  • Organizing disposal options for items that aren’t suitable for donation or sale
  • Finding and hiring movers

Ask Questions

Moving a loved one into memory care can be difficult. Counselors and managers are available to help you and your loved one with the transition.

Caregivers and family members who have questions about the memory care program or want to closely monitor it can also benefit in a variety of ways. Because everyone is going through this transitional period at the same time, having the knowledge to face it together will be advantageous.

If you have any questions as you move your loved one into memory care, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Barton House. We’re here to make the transition as positive and smooth as possible.