Tips to Help Older Adults Transition to Senior Housing – Part 2

When Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia is Involved

When moving an older adult with cognitive impairment or dementia, you must take additional things into consideration.

First, the time leading up to a move can be tricky. Your loved one may feel increasingly anxious as moving day approaches. Once a community is selected, it’s best to keep the process short.

Second, have a lot of empathy. Your loved one will face new surroundings, new routines, and new people. It can be frightening for someone with confusion or dementia. The first 2 to 8 weeks after a move are generally difficult and can lead to what’s called “Transition Trauma”.

Here are various tips to help ease the transition trauma. You know your loved one best. Customize the ideas that might apply to them.

Steps for a successful transition when dementia’s involved…

  • Let the doctor be “The Heavy”.  Ask for their assistance in telling your older loved one they need to move to supportive living.
  • Set up the apartment before your loved one arrives. Fill the space with familiar pictures, furniture, and other treasured belongings.
  • Try to re-create a smaller duplicate to your loved one’s home. Arrange things in similar patterns.
  • When you tell someone with dementia that they’re moving, it can cause tremendous anxiety. Alert their doctor. Then help lessen anxiety by waiting until a day or two before the move to tell them.
  • Honesty is generally the best policy when planning for a move. However, using compassionate fibs may actually be best when someone has dementia. Ask yourself what would cause less anxiety, the truth or a compassionate fib.
  • Use your best judgment with your loved one. Again, you know them better than anyone else. Make decisions with that in mind.
  • Have compassion for your loved one and for yourself as this can be a difficult process.

The good news

Thankfully, we generally find that people adapt in a matter of a few weeks after a move. They often begin thriving in their new home in about 6-8 weeks.

Be sure to see Part 1: Helping Older Adults Transition to Senior Living

Need Help?

Contact us for assistance at 503-807-7778.

Julie, Sarah, or Kay are standing by to help.