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When To Move Your Loved One From Assisted Living to Memory Care?

When To Move Your Loved One From Assisted Living to Memory Care?

As Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia progress, symptoms can worsen — making it crucial to recognize when it’s time to move your loved one from assisted living to memory care.

This transition is often necessary to ensure they receive the care and support they need to address the evolving challenges of their condition.

In this article, we’ll cover the signs to look for before making the decision, how to help your loved one seamlessly move from assisted living to memory care, and introduce you to our care services at Always Best Care.

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What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities?

Assisted living facilities are a housing option for seniors with disabilities or for those who prefer not to live alone. In assisted living, elderly patients receive help with daily tasks, such as bathing, and have the freedom to socialize and move around.

On the other hand, memory care facilities provide a secure environment for individuals with memory impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory care facilities implement structured routines to prevent wandering, as well as activities that can help preserve cognitive abilities and manage symptoms associated with dementia.

Two dementia patients engaging in a drawing activity​
Memory care offers an organized setting with consistent routines to reduce stress for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia​

8 Signs That It’s Time to Transition to Memory Care

If your loved one’s cognitive function begins to impact their safety and daily activities, it’s time to consider transitioning them from assisted living to memory care.

Here are the symptoms to look out for:

  • Disorientation: Getting frequently lost or confused about time and place
  • Behavior changes: Noticeable shifts in their personality or mood, such as increased agitation or aggression
  • Anhedonia or loss of interest in activities: Withdrawing from hobbies or social engagements they previously enjoyed
  • Forgetfulness: Forgetting facts or milestones, such as important dates or events
  • Poor hygiene habits: Neglecting personal hygiene, such as bathing or dressing appropriately
  • Difficulty eating and drinking: Struggling to eat and drink regularly
  • Difficulty performing activities: Trouble with daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning or managing finances
  • Recurrent falls: More frequent falls due to declining memory and cognitive functions

How To Help Your Elderly Loved One Move From Assisted Living to Memory Care

Individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia may become anxious in new environments and around unfamiliar people, as they depend on familiar settings and routines to feel secure.

As a caregiver, here’s how you can help make the move easier for your loved one:

  • Communicate about the move: Talk to your loved one about why they are moving to a memory care facility. Explain how it is specifically designed to cater to their needs and that it can improve their safety and well-being. Use clear language and avoid overwhelming details. For example, you can say, “This place will keep you safe and help you with your daily needs.”
  • Use visuals: Show them pictures of the memory care facility, as visual aids can spark your loved one’s interest and help them understand what to expect. You can also take your loved one on a virtual tour of the facility online.
  • Talk about familiar items your loved one can take to the facility: Reassure them that they can bring some of their favorite items, like photos, a beloved chair or a special quilt. This can help make the new place feel more like home.
  • Outline your loved one’s new schedule: Explain the daily routine they can expect in the memory care facility. Emphasize the positive aspects of memory care, such as fun social activities, mealtimes, and special events.
  • Talk to your loved one’s healthcare professional: Speak with your loved one’s geriatrician to help them better understand their needs. These discussions can help you make informed decisions about why this transition might be necessary for your loved one’s health.
  • Research memory care facilities: Contact your local social services centers for recommended memory care facilities, as they can help provide reliable options tailored to your loved one’s needs.
  • Seek recommendations: Ask family, friends, and neighbors about their experiences with memory care. Their firsthand insights can help set your expectations and make an informed decision.
  • Involve your loved one in the decision-making: Have an honest conversation with your loved one about their needs and encourage them to participate in choosing a memory care facility. Understand that dementia patients can feel vulnerable during transitions, so make sure to acknowledge their feelings and consider their preferences.
  • Acknowledge your loved one’s concerns and questions: Listen to any worries or queries they have about the move. Provide clear, comforting responses and ensure they feel understood.
  • Prepare for the move: Help your loved one organize and downsize their belongings. Focus on keeping familiar items that provide comfort. Be supportive and patient, as making a big move can be emotional and challenging for your elderly loved one.
  • Create a personalized space: Decorate your loved one’s new living space with personal items, such as photos and keepsakes, to ensure their environment looks familiar.
  • Plan for ongoing communication and visits: Set up a regular schedule for visits or calls to maintain family connections and help with the transition.
  • Provide emotional support: Recognize the emotional impact of this move. Offer reassurance, listen to any concerns they might have, and provide comfort. This shows understanding and empathy for what your loved one is experiencing.
  • Encourage your loved one to socialize with other individuals: Motivate them to engage in social activities and programs at the new facility. Discuss these activities with enthusiasm, highlighting the benefits of making new friends and staying active.
  • Ask how your loved one feels about the transition: Regularly check in on how they feel about the move. Validate your loved one’s emotions, whether they are feelings of uncertainty, fear or hope.
  • Coordinate with the new care team: Introduce your loved one to the staff and caregivers at the memory care facility. Share detailed information about their habits and medical history.
  • Monitor your loved one’s adjustment period: Keep a close eye on how they are adapting to the new environment. Be ready to communicate with the facility about any necessary adjustments or if you have any concerns.
  • Stay involved in your loved one’s care: Continue addressing your loved one’s needs and preferences. Regularly communicate with their caregivers to stay informed about your loved one’s care plan.
A caregiver comforting a dementia patient​
Communicate with your loved one’s caregiver to stay informed of their treatment​

Find Reliable Senior Care for Dementia Patients at Always Best Care

Discussing the option of moving your loved one from assisted living to memory care is crucial to prioritizing their safety and well-being.

At Always Best Care, we offer a wide range of services across 225 territories in the United States and Canada. Our dedicated team delivers top-quality care to ensure the best possible experience for our patients.

Our elderly care services include:

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FAQs About Transitioning From Assisted Living to Memory Care

Still have questions about when to move your loved one from assisted living to memory care that we didn’t address?

Discover the answers to some of the commonly asked questions below.

What is the best living situation for someone with dementia?

The ideal living situation for a dementia patient depends on the stage of their condition.

In the early stages, assisted living facilities can provide housekeeping services and personal care, such as dressing and bathing.

However, as the condition progresses, nursing homes or memory care facilities are more suitable. For example, memory care services include serving daily meals, recreational activities, and helping with day-to-day living.

When should dementia patients stop living alone?

Dementia patients should stop living alone when they start to experience challenges that compromise their daily activities and safety.

This can include wandering, forgetting to take medication, struggling with personal hygiene or increased confusion.

How long does it take for a dementia patient to adjust to memory care?

It usually takes several weeks or a few months for a dementia patient to adjust to moving into memory care.

However, everyone’s adjustment process is different and depends on factors, such as the stage of their dementia and their willingness to adapt to change.

As a primary caregiver, it’s key to provide support and schedule regular visits during this transition period. This can help your loved one feel more secure and comfortable.

In addition, communicating with the care facility’s staff is essential to monitor their adjustment and address any concerns promptly.

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