Many people experience a wide range of emotions the day they move their loved one into their new memory care assisted living. Everything from anxiety to relief, these family members are about to embark on a new journey with their loved one. The challenge families might face is how to act or what to do while visiting and at the same time how do they handle all the different emotions. Here are a few helpful hints to help both you and your loved one adjust to all the current changes in your lives.
1. Figure out what time of day is best to visit: As possibly a former caregiver for your loved one, you know at what time of the day they are most alert and active. Many seniors with memory loss struggle with sundowning, increased confusion and disorientation during afternoons and evenings, so visiting before lunch is generally a better time to go.
2. Say goodbye for the day: This is most challenging if you are a spouse. Many times spouses might say, “Okay dear, I’m headed home.” and this can make your loved one think they are going to join you like they used to do. You have to embrace their reality just as much as you do yours. Try and say something else when it is time for you to leave, like you have to run an errand and will be back later. You will learn what works best for you and your loved one overtime.
3. Get to know the other residents: Your loved one will get to know the other residents and even make some close friends, so it is good that you know who is who. Just remember that not everyone will get along, but that is ok.
4. Get to know the staff: These are the people who will be taking care of your loved one day in and day out. It is good to have an open line of communication with them so everyone is on the same page about your loved one’s wellness. Also, take the time to share some information about your loved one, what hobbies they like, what their favorite food is and some of their old habits. This will help the staff to plan activities they like to do and have good conversations with them.
5. Bring a trinket from home: Not only will this bring up a great conversation topic, it will help them feel more at home in their new place. Whether it is their favorite quilt or a picture of their grandchildren, having something that reminds them of home will make them feel more comfortable and give them something to talk about when they have visitors.