When a parent is diagnosed with memory loss, a lot of things can be uncertain. You may ask yourself how long they will remember you, what comes next, who will serve as their primary caregiver and what you’ll do as your loved one’s memory loss worsens. Many times, these questions don’t have definite answers. In fact, it may depend on a number of factors such as how far the memory loss has progressed, the person providing the care and the personal preferences of the individual with memory loss. One thing is for certain: planning ahead can make the whole process much simpler for everyone.
According to Sue Sunderland, Executive Director at The Bridges at Warwick, a senior living community in Jamison, PA, when your parent is diagnosed with memory loss, it’s crucial to begin creating a game plan. “You may have known a diagnosis was coming, or it may have taken you by surprise, but either way it’s very important to take advantage of the time you have until memory loss makes it difficult for your loved one to make decisions or direct you on the type of care they’d like,” says Sue. “Sit down with your parent and plan ahead to determine the care they’d like to receive. Would they like to move to a community? If so, take them on tours and get all the necessary documents in place to make it easier when the time comes. If your loved one prefers to stay at home, continue to talk about memory care as it may become a reality as their memory loss progresses.”
When a Parent Resists the Transition to Memory Care
What happens if your parent never gave you a preference for the future care they would like to receive or they can no longer make the decision on their own? Worse yet, what if they no longer remember that they preferred to move into a community and are reluctant to move? This is when it can become more difficult. When your loved one is resisting a move to a memory care community, it’s important to find ways to ease them into it or make the transition easier for them. Consider some of the following ways.
Bring up memory care a little each day. If your parent is in the early stages of memory loss, talking to them about memory care a little at a time may help them to warm up to the idea. Be sure to talk about the opportunities to have fun and engage with others. If they seem annoyed or don’t want to talk about it on any given day, don’t push the issue, as this could agitate and upset them. If your loved one would like to talk about how they are feeling about a move to a community, be sure to listen to them and be understanding.
Take your parent to see the community ahead of time. If your parent is having a good day, try to visit the community with them so they can see what memory care is like. Show them the apartments, list what services and amenities are available and look at a calendar of programs and activities. Stay for a meal and walk around the community to gauge your loved one’s reaction. Do they seem interested or at-home in the community? If so, look deeper into it and visit as often as possible to get them more acquainted.
Encourage them to participate in the community activities. When visiting the community or taking care of paperwork, see if your parent can participate in programming. Some memory care communities will also offer respite care so you can take a break from caregiving while your loved one enjoys the community’s lifestyle and services. This can help your parent become more familiar and help give you peace of mind that your loved one is enjoying the services that are provided.
Move as much as you can before move-in day. If your parent is still resisting a move into memory care and is becoming stressed, try to move as much as you can before move-in day. This can help to minimize any commotion and reduce the stress they might experience. It’s important to make the transition as seamless as possible in order to help your loved one be comfortable, less agitated and more prepared to move in. It can also help if you make your loved one's room look more like their room at home. Use the same comforter, hang curtains similar to the ones they have and see if their favorite chair will fit. A little personalization can go a long way in making your parent with memory loss feel secure.
Talk to the team about your parent. Prior to move in, talk to your parent’s care team. Let them know of their likes and dislikes, what they prefer to talk about and topics they should stay away from as well as your parent’s big achievements. Letting their team know about this can help them to find common ground with your loved one and help to make your parent feel more comfortable in their new memory care community. This information can also help lead the staff towards programs and activities your loved one may like, helping them to get involved and connect with others.
Would you like more support or information on transitioning a reluctant parent into a memory care community? At the Bridges at Warwick, we’d be happy to help you. Call or visit us to talk to our experts and get the support you need to make your loved one’s transition easier. Contact us today at 215.269.7745.
Activity. Friendship. Support. Convenience. Value.
You’ll find it all at The Bridges at Warwick, located in beautiful Bucks County, where everyday is a celebration of seniors. Our philosophy of “Celebrating Life” means that our residents enjoy a sense of purpose and contentment along with fun, personalized care and a focus on total well-being.
Our Personalized Supportive Care provides just the right amount of assistance to help you remain independent, along with life-enriching programs, services and amenities. Our exclusive Vista Transitional Living Program offers specialized programming our supportive care residents who have memory challenges but do not yet require a secure residence. For those whose memory loss is more advanced, we offer The Vista, our secure, comprehensive memory care residence.
In keeping with our founder Robert Basile’s personal philosophy, developed during his efforts to find quality senior living for his beloved father, senior adults remain our passion. We fill our residents’ lives with countless opportunities to engage with both new and treasured friends; events and programs to enjoy with family members and loved ones; as well as innovative and creative activities that foster engagement. Our dedication to total wellness – for mind, body and spirit – is woven into our culture every day.