By Corinne Mossman
As we enter a new year, it’s not uncommon for many of us to set personal and professional goals that align with our aspirations for growth and fulfillment. However, life has a way of throwing the unexpected our way, whether a new experience altogether, or changing a timeline on something you know is inevitable. This year, my new year started with a profound responsibility – relocating an aging family member safely into memory care. This decision, though emotionally challenging, became a necessity as their needs surpassed what could be provided in their independent living situation. The transition to memory care involves careful consideration, emotional preparation, and a commitment to ensuring the well-being of your loved one, and I felt fortunate to draw on my experience as a relocation professional in more ways than one to lead my family through this journey.
Research and Planning:
Before making the decision, thorough research about memory care facilities, their amenities, and the level of care provided is crucial. Planning involves understanding the financial aspects, legal considerations, and ensuring the chosen facility aligns with your loved one’s specific needs.
Communication and Emotional Preparation:
Open and honest communication with your loved one about the move is vital. Acknowledge their feelings and concerns, providing reassurance and emotional support. Recognize that the transition can be emotionally challenging for both you and them, and seek support from friends, family, or professionals if needed. You most likely will be faced with repetitive conversations and comments, but its important to show patience and empathy even if you have to answer the same thing over and over.
Creating a Familiar Environment:
Personalizing the living space in memory care with familiar belongings can provide comfort and a sense of continuity. Familiar faces, photographs, and cherished items can help ease the adjustment. Even think about arranging the room in a familiar layout, or playing music that makes them happy. It’s also important to make things accessible in a way that helps them continue with their routine, especially when it comes to items, they use daily.
Anticipate Changing Needs:
There are plenty of support solutions to help as people age – whether it’s a remote control that only has basic functions, large print books, an electric shaver, or regularly scheduled barber visits – keep in mind some tasks that once came naturally may become more challenging and it could be hard for your loved one to convey that. Be observant and try to understand why someone may stop doing something they used to have no problem doing on their own, perhaps they just need a little help beyond reminders.
Even though your loved one is in a different living environment, maintaining a connection is crucial. Regular visits, phone calls, and participation in facility activities can foster a sense of connection and reassurance. Encourage family members and friends to send cards, letters or photos. If someone is visiting that is able to do a video call, try ringing others who may not be able to visit in person so that your loved can at least see their face on video.
Let us acknowledge that every season of life has different challenges and experiences to navigate. Balancing personal and professional commitments during this process required collaboration, support, and a recognition of the profound impact such a decision can have on everyone involved. I’m very grateful to everyone who either knowingly or unknowingly supported during this time.