You’ve determined the family home is just way too much for your parents to manage. A smaller home became available just down the road from you that is perfect: a lovely flower garden in the front yard, a bright, cheerful kitchen, and no stairs to navigate. Now it’s time to tackle the downsizing process. The only problem? Mom has dementia.
Change for an older adult with dementia can be extremely challenging. Leaving the familiarity of home and moving into a brand new one can increase feelings of agitation and anxiety, but there are approaches to ease the transition when downsizing the home.
- Go slow. You might be tempted to make the process as quick as possible – like ripping off a band-aid. Nonetheless, a better approach in cases like this is taking time to discuss the upcoming changes with the older adult, one step at a time. Keep a consistent and calm demeanor, and empower the person to maintain as much control over the necessary decisions as possible.
- Create a system. Downsizing means many of the older adult’s belongings will need to be donated or disposed of. Again, include the individual in the decision-making process to the greatest extent possible. There will likely be certain items the senior can’t stand to part with, which can be placed into storage if the new living arrangement can’t accommodate them. If there are items the older adult hardly ever uses or sees, however, it may be less complicated 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 memory album for the senior. This enables the senior to revisit the items anytime they would like, and can also be used to spark conversations and for reminiscing after the move.
- Set up the new house yourself. Arrange the senior’s favorite furnishings and items of comfort in the new living environment before bringing them in. Include photos of friends and family next to the bed, so they can see them when they go to sleep and first get up. Then bring the older adult in, and help with rearranging anything they’d like adjusted. This process will ease the anxiety that may occur for someone having to unpack and think through the best locations to place items in a new environment.
Home Sweet Home In-Home Care’s experts in dementia care in Battle Creek, MI and the surrounding communities are fully trained, experienced, and highly skilled, and we’re available to help through the downsizing process and beyond. Email or call us at (866) 229-2505 for more information. For a full list of all the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page.