There comes a point for most individuals dealing with dementia, or Alzheimer’s where they need more care than can be provided at home. Transitioning your loved one to a memory care community often requires a delicate balance for everyone involved, including you. Even once they make a successful move, it can be hard to know how long you and other family members should wait before visiting, or how frequently to visit.
It’s completely natural for your loved one to feel a little frustrated and perhaps even a little homesick. Typically this is something that passes with time. Just how long it takes will vary from one person to the next, as well as by their specific symptoms.
Let Our Caring Staff Be Your Guide
We understand that this is a stressful time for you as well. Our caring staff is happy to keep you informed on how your loved one is handling the transition. We can provide you with information on best times to visit based on your loved one’s preferences.
There might also be preferable times of day when your loved one is more “In The Mood” for visitors, or perhaps little things from home that might help ease their transitions. There are some new residents who thrive early on in their new living environment. Yet there can also be others who need some time to fully settle in.
As always, our experienced staff can help guide you to determine the best visitation schedule for your loved one, as well as the things you can do to make the most out of your visits.
Determining A Visitation Schedule
For some new memory care community members, frequent visits from family, friends, and other loved ones helps ease the transition from home. Early on brief, frequent visits might help them settle in. Sometimes just a brief visit from a family member can provide them with just the peace of mind they need. It can also give you the ability to renew your connection with them.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that this isn’t always the case. Each person is different and there are indeed some exceptions. Some new residents at the memory care community have a little bit harder time settling into their new home. Giving them some time to themselves to find their place and fit into the new setting is understandable and often helps them embrace the experience.
Reasons Why You Should Wait To Visit A Loved One
It can be helpful to wait to visit a loved one when they first make the transition to a memory care community. A growing body of research shows that it takes about 28 days to establish a new habit, or routine. This also applies to the transition from independent living to a memory care community.
At first, your loved one might be confused if they see familiar faces in their new surroundings and be unable to understand why that doesn't fit. This could potentially cause anxiety and even anger.
Seeing family or friends within the first week may cause your loved one to want to leave with them. It could potentially make them unhappy or upset when they can’t fully process why they can't leave.
Often it is a family's guilt over the decision to move their loved one that makes them feel they need to visit right away for several hours at a time, or to bring in large groups of family and friends to “see the new apartment.” This isn’t always what's best for the person with dementia.
It’s important to remember that every person is different. Every journey is unique. You should always frame the move in a positive light. You can trust our care team, knowing that if they ask you to wait a week, or even two before visiting it is because we want to set your loved one up for success.
We know it isn’t a one size fits all approach. We also feel strongly about involving family and friends in a pace and method that makes the successful transition. The goal is to keep the focus on your loved one with dementia.
It is important to remember this is a challenging time for everyone involved and our care staff are here to help with any questions you may have. We want to make this transition as smooth as possible and are always willing to assist with any needs your or your loved one may have.
Timing Your Visits
There are some residents who settle into the memory care community quickly. Having a routine, being able to attend social events, and activities can open new experiences and opportunities for our new residents.
When you come to visit, they might even feel a little frustrated if your visit conflicts with a favorite crafting class or an activity they enjoy. At the same time, some members simply have an optimal time of day, when they are in the mood to receive visitors.
Fortunately, our caring staff stays dialed in on the schedule and preferences of all our community members. Feel free to reach out to us in advance to help find the best time for your visit.
When it does come time for you to visit, try to keep it to one to two people at a time. Limiting the number of people in the room can help your loved one to connect with each of you, and process the conversation. If ] family members are visiting from out of town, it can help to stagger their visits over the course of a few days. This keeps the format intimate, without overwhelming your loved one.
As always our caring staff can help guide you on the visitation schedule that works best for your loved one as they make the most out of their new life in our memory care community.
Remembering To Practice Self-Care
It can be understandably difficult for families to handle a loved one’s transition to a memory care community. Especially if your loved one needs some time to themselves as they settle in comfortably. Having your own emotional support system already in place will help you to manage your own feelings, while also helping keep you positive and upbeat when the time comes for you to visit.