Transitioning a Loved One

Significant emotions are involved when helping to accommodate a life change for a loved one. Some ways to ease the transition involve not only the person who will have a life changing event but most likely the entire family. Planning at the early stages of dementia can help establish concerns and fears to be dealt with and can serve as a way to find out the preferences of your loved one. Avoiding uncomfortable subjects is what we all want to do, but opening up the subject about what is likely going to happen is a necessary first step. Involving the doctor in the discussion might make it better received and emphasizing that the loved one will still be part of the family is great reassurance. Have your loved one help choose the new community, if possible; if unable, arrange an advance visit. This could be either in the dining room or through respite care and will help develop a comfort level at the community.  Set up your loved one’s apartment similar to the home environment to provide psychological comfort and familiarity. Respect the feelings of your loved one on moving day and help in the process of transition by showing an acceptance of the new home. Finally, recognize your own emotions – could be guilt or loneliness or even relief as you and/or the entire family have been instrumental in the life changing event of your loved one.

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