You’ve finally accepted that the family home is too much for you parents to handle. A small house became available just around the corner from you that’s perfect: a lovely flower garden in the front yard, a sunny, cheerful kitchen, and no stairs to navigate. Now it’s time to tackle the downsizing process. The only problem? Dad has dementia.
It can be challenging for seniors with dementia to accept change. Leaving the familiarity of home and moving into a new one can enhance feelings of agitation and anxiety, but there are strategies to help ease the transition.
- Take it slow. You may be tempted to make the process as quick as possible – like ripping off a band-aid. Even so, a more effective approach is taking time to talk through the upcoming changes with the senior, one step at a time. Maintain a consistent and calm demeanor, and empower the older adult to maintain as much control over the necessary decisions as possible.
- Create a system. Downsizing means a number of the older adult’s possessions will have to be re-homed or discarded. Again, involve the senior in the decision-making process to the greatest extent possible. There will probably be specific items the older adult cannot stand to part with, which can be placed into storage if the new living arrangement is unable to accommodate them. If there are items the individual seldom sees or uses, however, it might be easiest to have those removed prior to involving the person in the process.
- Maintain memories. Take videos and/or pictures of some of the items being donated or discarded and use them to create a scrapbook for the senior. This allows the person to revisit the items whenever they would like, and can also be used to spark reminiscing and conversations following the move.
- Set up the new house yourself. Arrange the older adult’s favorite furnishings and items of comfort in the new living environment before bringing them in. Include photographs of close friends and family near the bed, so they can see them when they go to sleep and first wake up. Then bring the senior loved one in, and assist with rearranging anything they’d like modified. This technique will lessen the anxiety that may occur for someone having to unpack and think through where to place items in a new environment.
Our professional dementia care team is fully trained, experienced, and highly skilled, and we’re available to help through the downsizing process and beyond. Contact us online or at (775) 507-3111 for more information about how our home care in Reno and the nearby areas can help.