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  • Writer's pictureBarington Barrett II

Tips For Helping Seniors With Alzheimer’s Adjust Smoothly To A Move: Avoiding Anxiety And Planning A

Helping a loved one downsize after the loss of a spouse is difficult, especially if they have Alzheimer's. Leaving a home they have had for years and going somewhere unfamiliar can be stressful, but creating a plan before the process begins can make for a smoother transition.

Prepare before the move needs to happen

If you can, talk with your senior about their housing preferences while they are still cognizant. When you do need to choose a new place for your loved one, try to visit care facilities under consideration more than once, at different times of the day.

Once you find the right place, Social Work Today recommends connecting with the staff as much as possible ahead of time. Talk with them about your loved one's history and needs, especially in relation to their health and medications. You can also put together a scrapbook or memory book to leave with the staff to help them get to know your loved one ahead of time.

Many families choose to sell their senior’s home to free up money for long-term care. While this is its own undertaking, you’ll want to make sure you get the best price for your loved one’s home. It helps to use an online tool that will estimate the home's value first, in order to get an idea of what you'll be working with. Then, you can move forward with working with a real estate agent who can determine the right pricing for the home.

Consider your loved one's needs and mental state

What should you tell your senior about the impending move? This depends a great deal on your loved one's health, especially if they have Alzheimer's. If this move is a welcome one that your senior is feeling positive about, take them on visits with you. However, if the idea of a move will promote anxiety, you may want to approach this differently.

Caregiver Homes suggests waiting to tell a loved one with Alzheimer's about an upcoming move. Knowing about the move can create anticipation anxiety, which can lead to negative feelings and behaviors. Work with facility staff to see how they can assist in the transition, as they may have some social opportunities available prior to the move that can help your loved one adapt.

You will likely need to repeat yourself frequently during discussions about the move. Give your senior control over the situation where you can to ensure the move happens with them rather than to them. It may be helpful to work with your loved one's doctor ahead of the move to temporarily prescribe or increase anti-anxiety medications for the transition.

Avoid anxiety by moving ahead slowly and maintain normal routines

You will need to work on sorting through your loved one's belongings ahead of the move. This process can be emotional for seniors, especially if they are grieving the loss of a spouse or dealing with Alzheimer's. Consider removing some items slowly ahead of time to reduce anxiety, and put belongings that spark intense feelings or memories into storage.

Keep your loved one's routine as normal as possible on moving day. Try to move during their best part of the day and stay positive throughout the process, avoiding arguments about why they need to move.

Arrange beloved items in familiar ways in the new home

Plan ahead to make their new place feel instantly familiar to them. Get a detailed floor plan so you can break down what will fit where and arrange things similarly to how they are at the old home. Focus on getting sentimental items like pictures, a favorite chair or quilt, or some favorite music in place right away, and do this ahead of your loved one's arrival if possible.

Transitioning a loved one who is facing the death of a spouse or Alzheimer's to a new home can be an emotional experience. Navigate this process gently to reduce anxiety by paring down belongings slowly and keeping your senior’s routines as normal as possible during the move. Set up their new place with familiar items and connect with the staff to make this transition progress smoothly.

If your loved one's new home needs modifications to promote better aging-in-place, reach out to Devries Accessibility Solutions for help by calling (970) 773-3302.

[Image via Pixabay]

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