Moving your loved one into a different environment is a very emotional decision that should be well thought out. If you believe your loved one needs more care and supervision than they are currently receiving, you want to ask yourself a few questions:
- Is your loved one safe? Are they forgetting to turn the stove off or are they wandering out of the house?
- Do they require help with medications or are they forgetting to take their medication?
- Does your loved one need help in the bathroom? Is their personal hygiene becoming a problem?
- Is the person with dementia active during the day? Do they participate in any meaningful activities?
Planning for the future is imperative, especially while someone is in the early stages so they are still able to voice their wishes. If your responses indicate that the person is no longer safe in their current environment, it is critical that you ensure their health and safety by moving them into a residence that provides the necessary care.
Oftentimes, family members and friends are unsure of what to do or what to talk about with their loved one. Because the person’s short-term memory is deteriorating, draw upon earlier memories. Bringing old photographs can spark memories and conversation from your loved one. Playing a favorite game or taking walks together are also meaningful activities you can partake in.
To help ease the transition for your loved one, bring familiar items from their home and decorate their new space with these items. This could include a favorite bedding set, chair, pictures, etc. To maximize familiarity when setting up the new space, arrange their room as it was in their previous home.
Short-term memory loss is pervasive in someone with Alzheimer’s disease. The ability to recall what you recently mentioned to them becomes increasingly difficult. Speak slowly, clearly, and repeat information as needed. Always identify yourself and call them by their name as this will help orient them and get their attention. Because it takes longer to process information and formulate responses, be patient and allow the person time to respond. You also want to avoid quizzing your loved one. This can cause embarrassment and frustration. Reminisce on early-life memories instead.