Fall River Jewish Home

A Caregiver’s Dilemma: Should You Moved a Loved One Who Has Alzheimer’s disease?

Moving a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease to your home or to an assisted living community can be stressful under the best of circumstances. Families often put off making the move for far too long. But if your loved one lives with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, you may not feel as if you have a choice. Their safety may be at risk if you don’t make the move.

What can family caregivers do to help a loved one with dementia make the best move?

At Fall River Jewish Home in Massachusetts, we work with families struggling with this issue every day. Our best suggestions for a smooth transition include:

  • Recreate their surroundings. When someone lives with Alzheimer’s disease, familiarity is important. It helps calm the anxiety and agitation that typically accompanies this disease. It also helps provide them with the structure theyrequire. Try to recreate their current environment in their new home as best you can. Especially the room they will spend the most time in each day. Think about what they look at and touch each day now. What seem to be their favorite things? Is it a favorite chair or lamp? Incorporate those in to their new environment. Using their favorite comforter or quilt and pillows on their bed in their new home can also help.
  • Familiar Faces. Surround them with family photos – old and new. Remember, the memory loss they experience may make it easier for them to identify photos of years past more than present day photos.
  • Create an Activity Box. What were their hobbies? If they were a teacher, for example, can you put together a box of supplies they may have used in that role? Think about what is familiar to them. Those are the items that will help make them more comfortable.
  • Music Therapy. Do they enjoy music? Consider bringing a small CD player and labeling their name on their favorite CDs. Let staff of their senior living community know to play it if they are agitated. Or keep a radio on their bedside table (at low volume) tuned in to the station that plays their  favorite kind of music.
  • Reminiscence Board. If your loved one will be moving to a memory care assisted living, put together a Reminiscence board before the move. Paste photos important to your loved one and descriptions about what the photo is. For example, a granddaughter’s wedding with a few highlights about the event for staff to discuss with your loved one. That will help provide the staff with ice breaker questions or conversations to engage your loved one in as they are getting to know each other. This would also be a great family activity to include your loved one in.

If you need help determining when it might be time to move a loved one, the Alzheimer’s Association has more great information.

Are you struggling with the decision to move a loved one to assisted living? What is the most difficult part of the decision for you?

We’re here to answer questions and help you make the best decision for care for you or your loved one. We invite you to reach out and talk with one of our care specialists at Fall River Jewish Home today! CALL 1.508.679.6172, where assistance is just a phone call away.

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