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Transitioning to Memory Care

Friday July 29, 2022

Transitioning to Memory Care

The decision to move a loved one into residential memory care is difficult. Often caregivers are faced with a great deal of guilt and uncertainty. We recently had a caregiver that made the difficult decision to move her husband into memory care. We think Linda’s insights are spot-on. Be sure to save this list and come back to it!

Here are the things she wishes she would have known before moving her husband into memory care:

  • This is a hard life decision, but one that needs to be made at some point.
  • Even the best places that provide the most high-quality care will not always meet what you feel is perfect caregiving. Your loved one isn’t as concerned with the daily routine as you are. As long as they are happy, healthy, and clean, it is all good.
  • Timing is everything. If your loved one’s disease has progressed to a point where you are thinking about memory care, don’t wait. Research and tour places. Talk with a social worker or your support system. This helped me know that the time was close and that I was making a quality decision for Dave’s care.
  • Remember, transition periods are growing and learning periods. Both you and your loved one will have an adjustment period… sometimes quite steep!
  • It was awesome to have Page Robbins as a resource to know what Dave’s favorite activities and daily habits were while I was not caring for him. This was quite helpful in memory care facility selection. It also helped introduce him to the facility nurses and care staff. Participation in an adult day program can help make future transitions smoother.
  • It was also helpful for the facility (and me) to be aware of his bathing and shower issues.
  • I wish I had known how overwhelming the change in my job from full-time caregiver back to being his “love” was and still is…
  • This is not an isolated situation. There are more caregivers and those needing memory care than I ever imagined. Seek them out through support systems, therapy, etc. You are not alone.
  • Get to know the management and staff of whatever facility your loved one attends. It is the best way to work together to give your loved one the best care. It also helps whenever there is an important discussion or concern that you need to address. All you need to do is communicate.
  • Look for facilities specializing in memory care. This is important for you and your loved one, as these facilities know the challenges and what is needed. This isn’t their first rodeo with a memory care client.
  • From a preparation perspective, less is more. Memory care residents don’t need more than a week’s worth of clothing or sleepwear. Small quantities of toiletries work best. Travel-size items are more manageable. Things will go missing. It is a part of life and manageable.
  • Realize that each challenging moment is just that… a moment.
  • It helps to understand that your loved one’s last memory is most likely one of their first memories in life. As your loved one transitions and becomes acclimated to their new residence, they continue to lose more memories and may not recognize your actual relationship. I have been Dave’s wife, grandmother, mother, and mommy. It helps to realize that all of these titles are still ones that he loves.
  • Things are never going to be perfect in whatever facility is chosen. It is okay to speak up and work together to fix what might be broken.
  • I wish I had a “buddy” who had recently gone through this transition and could share some of their experiences. That would have helped tremendously.
  • Join a support group (virtual or in-person). Caregiving is an ever-evolving undertaking.

If you are ready to start looking at plans for the future for your loved one, if are interested in memory care, or just need information about residential care, please feel free to call us at 901-854-1200. We’re here to help!

Written by Linda Allen