Once you decide memory care is the wisest path, the next step is choosing a facility and creating a smooth moving day. Many memory care communities have a “move-in coordinator” or other family liaison. Rely on this professional for guidance.
Ease the change with these tips:
- Involve your loved one in the choice of facility. Without saying why, visit each one with your relative. Have lunch there, perhaps engage in an activity. Watch how they respond and let that guide your choice.
- Wait to tell your loved one about the move. Avoid prolonged anxiety and confusion. Some experts advise that you wait until the day of the move to tell them, or when you are at the facility. Others advise no more than twenty-four to forty-eight hours before.
- Agree on “the story.” Everyone—family and staff—should say the same thing. For example, “The doctor says you need more than home care for your illness right now.” Even a fib (“The house is being tented for termites”) may be the most compassionate way to ease the transition. Imply it’s for a week or two, not a permanent move.
- Prepare logistics ahead of time. Ask the move-in coordinator what to expect, how the facility will greet your loved one, and how you will make your exit. Have a friend or family member bring photos and belongings over and set up the room before you arrive. You might want that person to spend time with you afterwards, as leaving can bring up a lot of emotions.
- The day of the move. Stick to routines as much as possible. When your relative understands what’s happening, stay calm and positive. Empathize. “This is hard for all of us. We just have to put up with it for now.” Stick to the message. Enlist the help of staff—usually a distracting activity—so you can exit quietly.