It’s Moving Day- Moving a Loved One with Alzheimer’s into a Care Facility

Transitioning a loved one into assisted living or a nursing home isn’t easy for most families, especially if your loved one has Alzheimer’s.  For a person with Alzheimer’s disease, changing the routine and moving into an unfamiliar environment make the move especially daunting.  If you’re helping a loved one who has Alzheimer’s move into a care facility, these are some tips to make the transition as comfortable as possible:

  •  Make frequent visits before the move. Consider carefully whether to include your loved one in these visits. If your loved one is interested, it might make sense to bring him or her with you. If you sense that a visit would only create stress and anxiety, visit without your loved one.

             Speak with the staff about your loved one’s background and any special needs. Provide details on your loved one’s medical and mental health history, including a detailed medication list.

  • Before the move, make your loved one’s new room or space look and feel as familiar as possible. Decorate the area with a treasured quilt, a shelf with special items, a favorite chair or other meaningful possessions. Familiar belongings can trigger feelings of connectedness and ownership, as well as boost your loved one’s sense of security.
  • Bring pictures of loved ones and friends, memory books or photo albums. Reminiscing about the past can help a person who has Alzheimer’s bring reassuring memories into the present. Label the pictures to help staff members or others identify the people in your loved one’s life and encourage conversations about the past.
  • As you’re preparing your loved one’s space, be careful with heirlooms and irreplaceable items. Consider bringing items that can be replaced easily if necessary — such as copies of old photos instead of the originals.
  • On the day of the move, follow your loved one’s normal routine as much as possible. If you can, handle the move during your loved one’s best time of day — whether it’s in the morning or the afternoon.

While you’re moving, do your best to stay positive. Your attitude can help your loved one feel safe and secure in the new environment. Once your loved one is settled, trust the staff to help with the next big step — your departure. Rather than making a big deal about your leaving, the staff might engage your loved one in a meaningful activity while you walk away.

Leaving your loved one in the new home or facility might be difficult for you — both on the day of the move and in the weeks and months that follow. Feelings of grief, loss and guilt are normal. Keep in mind that it might take your loved one a couple of weeks to a couple of months to become acclimated to his or her new living arrangements. Trust the facility’s advice as to whether to visit your loved one regularly during this transition time or to stay away.  Staying away during the transition time may be very difficult for you, but may be better for your loved one by allowing your loved one time to acclimate to the new surroundings without being frequently reminded of the old.

Once your loved one is settled in the care facility, be sure to read our article about Looking out for a Loved One in a Nursing Home.  

Do you have a loved one who is in a nursing home or nearing the need for nursing home care? Or are you simply looking to plan ahead in the event nursing home care is needed in the future?  Make sure you are prepared financially. Persons with Alzheimer’s and their families face special legal and financial needs. At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firms of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we are dedicated to easing the financial and emotional burden on those suffering from Alzheimer’s and their loved ones. Nursing homes in Northern Virginia cost $10-$14K per month. We help protect the family’s hard-earned assets while maintaining your loved one’s comfort, dignity, and quality of life by ensuring eligibility for critical government benefits.

Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection is the process of protecting assets from having to be spent down in connection with entry into a nursing home, while also helping ensure that you or your loved one get the best possible care and maintain the highest possible quality of life, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home.  Call us today at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a consultation.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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