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Transitioning to Memory Care

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Earlier this week, Home Instead Senior Care network had the pleasure of chatting with Beau Rusk, Memory Care Director for Aksarben Village and Dial Retirement Communities' West Regional Dementia Care Trainer. We discussed the process of successfully transitioning to a specialized memory care center.

We addressed various elements of this process and what to consider, but what we thought might be most helpful to share is tips for each aspect of this decision-making process. This is an abbreviated list from our expert, but we hope you find it helpful. 

Making the decision to move: 
1. Have a realistic understanding of your loved one's dementia. Is it worsening? 
2. Seek recommendations from your loved one’s physician and get a second opinion from a specialist or neurologist.
3. Involve your loved one with the decision as much as possible.
4. Remind yourself that this transition or getting professional help is a step in the direction of adapting to needs for your loved one's safety and well-being.

Leading up to the move: 
1. Schedule tours and follow-up with unexpected visits to observe when the community team does not have time to prepare. Talk to the frontline team leads to learn about the community’s dementia culture, staff ratios, and routine. View the community from your loved one’s perspective – not your own (for someone with dementia, simple and smaller areas are therapeutic).
2. Listen to your loved one’s needs and get important documents like a POA, living will and finances in order. This article helps explain the need for POA. 
3. Make a list of what to bring to the memory care community. Keep it home-like, but as simple as possible. Too much “stuff” can lead to anxiety and health hazards. The list should include:
    o Basic Needs like toiletries and furniture.
    o Basic Home-like Needs include favorite things to make the new community feel like home (photo album, blanket, chair).
    o Items that may be wanted at some point (family heirlooms, TV, other décor).

After the move: 
1. Keep in touch: visit (routinely if possible), mail letters with photos.
2. Keep visits to common areas (especially during the transition phase) to reinforce the area is for socialization.
3. Be prepared to adjust the time, type, and frequency of visits based on your loved one's behavior.
4. Know the limitations of your loved one, the community and yourself so you can act in the best interest of your loved one.
5. Focus on positives and be willing to adapt to changing realities and the disease's progression.
6. Your goal is to return to your original role before caregiving.

Keep in mind this is a transition for your loved one AND you! It will take some time before you're both comfortable with the change. Do the best you can to support your loved one through the range of emotions experienced and take care of yourself along the way.

Alzheimer's and dementia home care services are available

In-home care provides assistance to your loved one wherever they call home. Please contact our expert team at Home Instead Senior Care (Burnaby and South Vancouver) 
CALL 604-432-1139


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