Moving can be challenging even in the best circumstances. For someone experiencing dementia, moving from a longtime home to a memory care community can be even more difficult. While a move like this is ultimately best, we understand how overwhelming and emotional this can be for you and your loved one. At Clark, we work alongside families to make sure their loved one’s move is as smooth and comfortable as possible. We’ve compiled some tips for before, during and after a move to a memory care community.
It’s important to have everything set up in your loved one’s new space before they move in. Have a family member see the room ahead of time to help determine what to bring. If possible, place furniture or belongings in a layout similar to your loved one’s current space. For example, if your loved one has a night stand on the left side of the bed, mimic this in the new space. Having the space decorated, unpacked and set up will limit anxiety and confusion for your loved one and make the transition smoother.
Having familiar and meaningful items in your loved one’s new space will help them feel more at home and at ease. Plan to decorate the new space with photos of family and bring in a favorite pillow or bedspread to make things feel comfortable. Be sure to prioritize the most meaningful items so the new space doesn’t become too cluttered which can lead to anxiety.
Our team will reach out to learn more about your loved one before the move. We call this our Clark “Life Story” profile which asks about your loved one’s life journey thus far, things that are important to them, hobbies, and more. We will also request a photo of your loved one so our team will easily recognize them before arrival. Our staff will meet as a team to review your loved one’s “Life Story” profile so we can get to know your loved one and their unique needs and interests.
Another way to make the transition smoother is to have documentation completed before move-in day. Make sure to send in a Medication List of all your loved one’s medications. You can also talk with our transition team to find out if there are any other important documents like Power of Attorney that should be set up before move-in. Having all documentation complete beforehand can make the move less stressful knowing everything necessary is already in place.
The day before move in, our team will reach out to you and your family with additional resources for supporting your loved one during this transition. On move-in day, you and your family will receive a schedule of the day and will be introduced to team members. Our staff will be ready to greet your loved one and will help them settle into their new home. To make your loved one feel even more at home, their new residence will have a house plant and refreshments waiting for them.
Planning the optimal day of the week and time of day can really make the move more seamless. We recommend moving in on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays which ensures the entire team can be on hand for the transition. Mid-morning or Mid-afternoon makes for an ideal time of day. This allows your loved one to have some time to settle into their new space and then shortly after join other residents for a meal.
On move-in day, your loved one may experience a range of emotions. They may ask to go home or wonder why they are making this move. Be supportive and let your loved one know you understand how difficult this transition is for them. Reaffirm how beneficial this move will be in the long run while acknowledging their concerns.
Introduce yourself to any staff members on move-in day. This can be a great way to establish a relationship and open a line of communication with your loved one’s caregivers.
Plan your visit ahead of time, choosing optimal times and things to do during your visit. Take advantage of the warmer weather by enjoying a walk outside, enjoy a snack in the Chatterbox Cafe, reminisce with pictures, or listen to music. If you’re concerned about how to smoothly end your visit, plan to arrive an hour or two before a mealtime. Then when it’s time for your loved one to go to a meal, you can take your leave while your loved one is enjoying a meal with their neighbors.
To make the transition seamless and keep the lines of communication open between our staff and your family, we have specific check-in points in place after your loved one moves in. From day one, the Clark team is working with your loved one, getting to know them and their interests to get them involved. Two or three business days after the move, you will sit down with your first family meeting with the Clark team to answer questions and review their care plan and goals. Another formal family meeting will take place about a month after moving in. Rest assured the Clark team is always available to you to provide reassurance and assistance to you and your loved one.
Moving to a memory care community is a big change – one that may require time and grace from everyone involved. Give your loved one time to adjust to their new home and community and understand that settling in can take a little time. Making the decision to move your loved one to a memory care community is difficult, but ultimately you are giving them the greatest gift by putting their health, safety and well-being first. Know that your family member is receiving exceptional care and support from our compassionate team.
If you think your loved one could benefit from Memory Care at Keller Lake, contact our senior living advisors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-278-6520 or fill out the form below to schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your loved one’s situation and see if Clark is the right fit for your loved one.