Moving days are always a stressful event, and that stress tremendously increases for those who suffer from memory issues. As emotional as it is to leave a previous home for a new one, those with memory impairment are left more confused than anything. That’s why it is essential to add an extra level of defining care on moving days. Between having familiar faces present to planning the entirety of the day well before moving, there are many preventative measures that can be taken to help your moving day go as smooth as possible. Therefore, let’s dive into a few ways you can assist your loved one with dementia move worry-free.
Preparation Takes Precedent
The most important aspect from moving is undoubtedly being properly prepared for moving day. By setting up and planning out the day before it happens, you make the experience immensely easier for your loved one. Additionally, make sure to let your loved one participate in the move. A great example of this is letting them decide what belongings they’d like to pack. By actively participating, your loved one can feel more in control about his or her move; as opposed to having no say at all during the process. The finite details can make all the difference in these situations so it’s imperative to be diligent.
Perhaps patience is one of the more rudimentary traits to carry with you on moving days, however that doesn’t make it any less important. In fact, being patient with your loved one can lower a lot of the stresses associated with moving entirely. Understanding how long moving can take and coming to the realization that patience proceeds pace, can calm nerves and give all involved a set of expectations. Chances are if you have a loved one suffering from dementia you’re pretty patient in your own right however if not, make sure to prioritize this on your moving day.
Communication is Key
Throughout the entire process of moving there is no more important factor to consider than communication. Knowing what your loved one needs becomes more difficult with dementia; as it does with aging in general. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you properly communicate with your loved one while moving. It’s simply too easy to fall into the trap of “taking over” moving day by disregarding all of your loved ones needs in an effort to move in as quickly as possible. Put an emphasis on communication, it will save you time and stress.
Incorporate Familiar Items
One of the best ways to limit the amount of forgetfulness that is to be experienced during moving is to incorporate as many items as possible that your loved one is familiar with. Maybe a scented candle brings back some homely memories, or a family photo allows them to recall a fond experience with those they care about most. The item itself is rather meaningless to select, as long as it is associated with something your loved one would find positively memorable. It’s all about bring a sense of familiarity to their new home. The better you can achieve this, the more welcoming your new home will appear to your loved one.
Now, for those who already use calendars in your daily life this isn’t as prevalent to you; as you are assuredly aware of the positives associated with calendars. For everyone else, calendars can be an excellent source of organization and structure for your loved one suffering from dementia. Eliminate the fear of forgetfulness with the calamity that ensues moving. As you uproot one home lifestyle for another, adding any amount of organization and structure can work wonders for you. The last thing anyone needs is to miss an important doctor’s visit because it wasn’t written down anywhere.
Playing music is definitely one of the easiest things to do as you move and it can help improve overall morale for the day! Piggybacking off of a previous statement, music has the ability to familiarize someone with their surroundings, even if it’s their first time at a new place. Making a playlist of your loved ones favorite tunes can absolutely lighten up the moving day mood for all involved. For especially tough days music is a fantastic escape, and if your loved one is struggling with their home transition then putting on that special playlist can make all of the difference.
Have Relatives Be There On Moving Day
The proposition of someone with dementia moving homes is terrifying. One of the best ways to help with this is to invite as many close relatives/friends over as you can, in order to offer your loved one some sense of familiarity. Even if your loved one struggles with recognizing faces, there is still ample opportunity to quell their concerns with a family gathering of any sort. Get together, talk about your fondest memories, and watch your loved one feel increasingly secured in their new home.
In conclusion, there is a lot to consider when attempting to move someone suffering from dementia or other memory-related illnesses. New places and faces may only add to receding recognition and processing skills. As a result, there needs to be a concerted effort to provide calm, welcoming environment when moving.
Make sure to keep constant communication, I cannot stress this enough. Remember that moving is a long process that will require even more additional patience than usual. Being able to talk through any stressful situations that may arise during moving can create a more relaxing environment on its own. This of course coincides with our main goal of providing a safe, comforting environment so that your loved one can adapt to their new senior living home accordingly. In totality, moving days are a pain in anyone’s butt whenever they occur. Therefore, do whatever you reasonably can to ensure your loved one has a comforting support system around them as they adapt to a new home.