Moving from Home to a Memory Care Community

Moving from Home to a Memory Care Community - What to Expect and What You're not Expecting. The move from home to a memory care community is a unique journey and looks different for everyone who experiences it. It's often overwhelming, an overload of information, riddled with guilty thoughts and sometimes uncomfortable conversations.

Moving from Home to a Memory Care Community – What to Expect and What You’re not Expecting

The move from home to a memory care community is a unique journey and looks different for everyone who experiences it. It’s often overwhelming, an overload of information, riddled with guilty thoughts and sometimes uncomfortable conversations.

Let’s get into it – the scary, guilty and sometimes uncomfortable moments during the journey of Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

The senior living journey looks different for every person and every family moving into an assisted living facility.

Some families start having conversations early and often so when the time comes that additional care is needed, a plan is in place and the move happens when care needs are minimal and there are not any cognitive concerns.

This could mean that a family is moving mom or dad into the traditional or independent and assisted living part of the community. When and if cognitive concerns arise, the family, community and resident will work together to come up with the best care plan to ensure success for the resident. This might mean moving from the traditional side of the community to a secure memory care neighborhood or memory care community.

Click here to find a Northbridge Memory Care location near you!

Since the hypothetical family we talk about above has already experienced life in the assisted living community, the move to memory care may not be as jarring. The family and resident know the staff, and the staff knows them. The move will still be an adjustment for everyone, but the constants of great care services and dedicated associates ease the transition.

There are also families that don’t begin their senior living journey until something has happened to prompt them to start. Maybe mom didn’t remember to turn the oven off, or dad wandered off while on his walk and couldn’t remember how to get home. At this point, the family is no longer looking for traditional assisted living, they are looking for assisted living specializing in memory care.

If your first-time stepping foot into a senior living community is to visit a memory care neighborhood, it might be a little bit surprising.

It is important to remember that memory care neighborhoods are designed for the residents living there – not the families who visit or the prospective families on a tour.

What does this mean? We encourage you to read our blog, Design in a Memory Care Community – the use of Environment to Foster Independence, to learn more.

Here are a few examples of the importance of design:

  • Wayfinding and Orientation: the use of objects or artwork to assist residents with seasonal or temporal orientation. This means incorporating landmarks at decision making points to remind residents what activities or events happen in that space or what direction they need to head in to return to their apartment.  For example, artwork that incorporates silverware in the dining room may be helpful in cueing the resident that this is where they come to eat.
  • A Safe and Secure Environment: the idea that mom or dad will be living in a space that you need to be allowed entry into either with a code or by buzzing in, may be a difficult adjustment. Understand that doing this allows for residents in that neighborhood to walk and wander freely and safely within the neighborhood and courtyard without the risk of getting lost or hurt.

For more information on the use of design in a memory care community, be sure to read our blog!

It is also important to remember that everyone’s journey with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease is different. There is a quote by Thomas Kitwood that says, “If you’ve met one person with dementia, you’ve met one person with dementia- we’re all different”. This means your loved one’s journey with dementia will look different and may be at a different stage then their neighbor or anyone else in the memory care neighborhood you visit.

When visiting a memory care neighborhood or community you may see things that seem out of the ordinary or unfamiliar to you. Maybe a resident is helping an associate set the tables in the dining room – what you don’t know is that the resident worked in restaurants their whole life and finds joy and purpose in setting the tables. You might see a resident holding a baby doll; they worked as a labor and delivery nurse for many years and find comfort in comforting someone else.

For us, part of providing the best care is finding ways to bring purpose, comfort, and home into the everyday lives of our residents. Sometimes this looks like singing with them as we walk down the hallway and other times it’s allowing someone to oversee watering all the flowers and plants in our courtyard because they grew up owning and operating a family farm.

All this is to say, your loved one’s journey with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia will change and progress and what might seem uncomfortable for you to think about now, could be the same approach to care that provides purpose and joy for your loved one later.

If you find yourself feeling hesitant because you think that your loved one won’t be comfortable in an environment like this, we encourage you question if you are feeling that they won’t be successful in the community or if you are feeling guilty.

Sadly, guilt is a normal part of the process for family members. There is no way around it. Instead of leaning into that guilt, reframe your train of thought. Don’t think of this as your worst-case scenario, think of it as the next step in the care journey.

Are you feeling guilty because you think your mom or dad doesn’t belong in that setting, or are you feeling guilty because that setting isn’t at home with you?

These are tough questions and thoughts that we encourage you to sit with and explore, but don’t feel you need to do it alone. Talk with others – family members, support groups, you can even ask to talk to current family members. Chances are there is someone else out there who has experienced the same thoughts you are having right now.

Most Northbridge communities offer monthly support groups, if you are interested in participating, please reach out to a community near you for more information. Click here to find a community near you.

We’re here to answer any of your questions, please contact us if we can provide further information or if you would like to schedule a personalized tour. 


Share this Article

Questions or Comments?

Contact Us