Helping Parents Transition to Memory Care

Helping Parents Transition to Memory Care

Deciding to make the transition to a memory care community is rarely easy. Making the decision to transition your parent to a memory care community can be even harder. Many times, the decision to move or even considering a transition can be riddled with guilt and sadness. When parents are suffering from memory loss, they are often unable to make decisions for themselves, and if moving to a memory care community was not something previously spoken about, it can leave you as a caregiver to make this difficult decision for them.

According to Ryan Carney, Executive Director at Travanse Living™ at Wheaton, an Assisted Living and Enlight Memory Care community in Wheaton, IL, it’s completely normal to feel anxious or guilty about moving your parent. “It’s natural to think about what your loved one may feel like or want during this time. You may think your parent will be angry, hurt or upset as a result of moving,” he states. “While this may be true, it’s important to remember that your parent is not the same as they used to be. This version of you parent may not even realize what is going on, as sad as this may be. But it’s important to remember you are doing this for the best reasons. Your parent deserves the utmost care possible, and if you can’t give the extent of care they need, it’s truly for the best to make the transition.” 

5 Signs It’s Time to Make the Transition to Memory Care

According to the Alzheimer’s Association® Caregiver Tips and Tools article, there may be a few clues that it’s time to consider a memory care community. Consider the following questions:

  1. Has your loved one fallen recently? Keep an eye on your loved one. According to the article, if your parent has fallen more than twice in the past year and has mobility issues, it may show that they might need to transition to a memory care community.
  2. Do they have significant health issues? Has your parent lost or gained 10 pounds rapidly within the last year? Are they dealing with frequent urinary tract infections that either don’t seem to go away or keep coming back?
  3. Do your parents need more assistance than you can give? As memory loss progresses, your parents needs will increase. Do they need more assistance with bathing, brushing their teeth and putting clothes on? What about toileting?
  4. Has their memory loss progressed quickly? When your parents begin to have little awareness of recent experiences and events, they may have difficulty distinguishing who people are and begin to wander and could get lost both inside and outside of their home. This could be a signal to make the transition to a memory care community.
  5. Have your parents’ sleeping patterns changed? Is your parent having trouble sleeping or commonly waking up in the middle of the night? Are they becoming more restless at night and prefer to sleep more during the day? Sundowning can cause issues in sleep patterns and cause good rest for you and your parent to become nonexistent.

While these signs may not be your deciding factor on whether or not to make the transition to a memory care community, it can significantly help your parent to receive the care they need. As memory loss progresses it will become harder and harder to keep up with demands and while caregivers think they can handle everything and still maintain their own lives, the fact is it’s a lot harder than it looks. One aspect of life begins to suffer as a result of the demands of caregiving, whether it is your family, your job, your well-being or your parent’s care. This often leads them to make the final decision on moving.

How to Help Your Parents Make a Successful Memory Care Transition

The Alzheimer’s Association® article also offers a few tips that could help to make your parent’s transition easier on the both of you. They do warn, however, that discretion may need to be used in deciding which of these tactics to use and to consider your parent’s personality when doing so. Some of these include:

  • Don’t talk about the transition too far in advance. This can seem a little harsh, but in order to keep your loved one calm and less anxious, therefore limiting extreme behaviors, it may be better to wait to tell your parent of the transition to memory care until the time gets much closer. As the date of move-in approaches, their memory care community may offer socials, parties or programs that your loved one can get engaged in, which can help to ease them into the idea of moving.
  • Tell little fibs if necessary. While this doesn’t work for every family, and is up to what each family feels is right, some may choose to tell their parents light fibs. According to the article, it may not be necessary to tell them their new community is where they will be staying. The article suggests that if your loved one will be happier knowing the stay is short-term, come up with an excuse such as family will be out of town so they will need to stay at a “hotel” for a period of time. Be sure that the memory care staff members know this is the game plan as well, in order to make the transition easier. Over time, it will become easier and more comfortable for your parent and they may want to stay.
  • Bring familiar items from home. This is by far one of the best ways to ease your parent into their new community. Try bringing their comforter and bedspreads, make the curtains the same color as their curtains at home, decorate similarly to what the theme of their home was. Make sure they have their favorite items and pastimes, such as books or music they love to listen to.
  • Give them time to adjust. As much as you may want to be there every hour of every day, it’s best to give them some time to adjust on their own. Give them time to get involved in programs and make some friends. Let them get used to their new home at their own pace. If you visit too soon, according to the article, they may ask you to take them back home with you, which can make it harder for them to adapt. Try talking to staff instead to check in with your loved one. After the first week, try visiting a little at a time, and once your loved one is used to their community, you can begin making visits regularly.
  • Remember that this will pass. As hard as this seems right now, it’s important to know that this will not always be so hard. Your parent will get used to their new memory care community and may come to love being there, thanks to the engaging programming, other residents, and personalized care. Just remember that you made the right choice for your particular situation and are helping to give your parent the care and lifestyle they deserve.

If you need any help finding ways to make your parent’s transition to a memory care community easier, feel free to talk to our staff at Travanse Living™ at Wheaton. We would love to help you through this emotional journey and can help provide the support you need to make the best decision for your loved one.

Experience Life. Uplifted! at Travanse Living™ at Wheaton

Travanse Living™ at Wheaton offers Assisted Living and Enlight Memory Care services to individuals in the area. Travanse Living™ communities offer the best of both worlds – the dignity, comfort and peace of private apartment suites as well as spacious and abundant social areas – both inside and outside. Our beautiful communities, rich in care, services and amenities, are complemented by our life-enriching and diverse programming.

Travanse Living is more than a warm, welcoming and supportive place to call home. It is an engaging, worry-free lifestyle for individuals needing senior living services or memory care. After all, while you may need a bit of support to remain living independently, your desire to live a full, active and meaningful lifestyle hasn’t changed one bit. 

To ensure quality in every aspect of the community, we turned to Pathway to Living™ to operate and manage Travanse Living. Award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living™ keeps residents active and engaged within our community. We encourage our residents to remain active – physically, intellectually and spiritually – living a life filled with purpose, meaning and fulfillment.

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