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Moving a Parent into Memory Care: 5 Tips for This Transition

two people walk and drink coffee talking about moving a parent into senior memory care

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s and other related disorders, is a chronic disease that impacts thinking, memory, and social abilities. Over time, dementia limits an individual’s ability to function independently, resulting in the need for assistance. While estimates vary, research indicated that over seven million Americans aged 65 or older had dementia in 2020. With the baby boomer generation aging, this number is expected to rise to over nine million by 2030. Many families cannot provide the care needed to manage the health and safety of older family members with dementia. Senior memory care provides the support necessary to help those with dementia in a safe, secure environment.

At Buckner Villas, our mission is to provide all our residents with a meaningful life, regardless of cognitive ability. We understand that moving an elderly loved one into memory care is one of the most complex decisions a family will make. Our expert team of caring professionals is here to help every step of the way. Contact us at 512.580.9882 to learn more about The Harbor, our certified memory care program.

The Challenges of Caring for a Parent with Dementia

Approximately 15 million unpaid family members care for a loved one with dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Caring for a loved one with progressive memory loss significantly impacts everyday family life in many ways. Compared to non-caregivers, caregivers report higher rates of physical and mental health issues and worse overall well-being. Psychological distress is significantly higher in caregivers coping with dementia than in other illnesses.

Among the most commonly reported challenges for dementia caregivers are the following:

  • Having patience with their loved one
  • Managing a loved one’s mood swings and behavioral changes
  • Keeping a loved one positive and motivated
  • Handling bills, finances, and health insurance
  • Keeping track of and administering medications
  • Scheduling and providing transportation to appointments
  • Coping with the impact of dementia on a loved one
  • Dealing with the stress and emotional toll on self and other family members

Dementia caregivers tend to sacrifice their interests, hobbies, leisure time, time with friends and family, and employment to tend to the needs of their loved ones. In many cases, they help pay out-of-pocket costs associated with dementia care, impacting their financial stability.

5 Tips for Transitioning into Memory Care

Moving a parent or senior loved one with dementia into memory care is a significant life transition for all involved. A specialty memory care program like The Harbor at Buckner Villas meets residents where they are, taking their current abilities into account to create an individualized care plan that promotes the best quality of life. The Harbor provides a secure environment that supports freedom while minimizing the risk of wandering or getting lost.

Many adult children, or others charged with the decision of moving a parent or loved one into memory care, grapple with stress, anxiety, and guilt. At Buckner Villas, our compassionate staff provides the support you need to help ease the transition for everyone. Many who reach out to us have questions about how to best prepare for such a move. Five essential tips for transitioning a loved one into memory care are:

  1. Stick to a script – Many family members have strong opinions about the move to memory care. Having everyone use the same phrasing in a straightforward, comforting way helps alleviate anxiety and confusion.
  2. Pack for your loved one – Moving is stressful for most people. For those with dementia, it can be overwhelming and add to disorientation. Experts suggest packing while your loved one is asleep or out of the home. Remember to pack photos and other cherished items because it is comforting for those with dementia to be surrounded by familiar belongings.
  3. Visit the memory care facility before moving day – Caregivers should visit the facility independently to connect with staff and ask questions. Bringing your loved ones for visits can help them become familiar with their new environment.
  4. Plan the move for their best time of day – Seniors with dementia typically have good and bad times of the day, so plan the move during their good time to reduce stress. Consider having a moving company do the work while you keep your loved one occupied, so everything is unpacked and settled for them.
  5. Don’t make yourself the bad guy – In conversations with your loved one, shift the responsibility of the decision onto medical providers. Doing so can help preserve your relationship.

Contact Buckner Villas for Memory Care for Senior Parents with Dementia

Buckner Villas in Austin, TX, is committed to providing the highest quality memory care for seniors with dementia. You can feel confident that your parent or loved one will receive the attention, care, support, and respect they deserve in the safe, secure, home-like environment of The Harbor, our memory care program. Call 512.580.9882 to learn more.