According to the Alzheimer's Association, every 65 seconds, a person in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia. If your parent or loved one was diagnosed with dementia, it can be difficult for them to make the transition from their home to a senior care facility. There are several things you can help them make this change and feel more comfortable in their new home.
Here are a few ways to help your parent living with dementia adjust to living in a nursing home.
Pack and Decorate Thoughtfully
Moving your parent or loved one from their home or your home to a long-term care facility can be overwhelming and if they are confused or scared, they could be resistant. Ask a friend or family member to take your parent out to lunch or shopping while you tackle the decluttering, packing, and moving. Get your parent's input on what they want to keep and respect their wishes.
Help your parent decorate their room with items from home. For example, hang family pictures on the walls, ask if you can bring along a favorite easy chair or another familiar piece of furniture. Avoid cluttering the new space with too many objects. Having too many knick-nacks, pictures, and other decorative items in the space can feel overwhelming to your parent.
Encourage Your Loved One to Make Friends
Living with dementia can be confusing, which can make it difficult for your parent to adjust to this new environment. Speak to the staff at the senior care facility and inquire about any activities or groups your parent would enjoy. For example, if your parent loves to knit, ask about a group that would help them meet people while doing something they enjoy.
Encourage your parent to sit with residents during meals or start a conversation with the resident next door.
Plan Your Visits Carefully
You're concerned about how your parent or loved one is adjusting in a new environment, so you want to visit them as much as possible. Waiting a few days before making your first visit will encourage your loved one to connect with the staff, their doctors, and fellow residents. When you do visit, stay for a few minutes and let your parent show you around, introduce you to their new friends, and enjoy a meal together.
If your loved one or parent living with dementia is moving to a nursing home or senior care facility, there are several ways you can help them feel more comfortable and ease the transition.