Alzheimer's: Smoothing the transition on moving day

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Alzheimer's: Smoothing the transition on moving day

Moving from one home to another can trigger anxiety for anyone. For a person who has Alzheimer's disease, however, a changed routine and an unfamiliar environment can be extremely stressful. If you're helping a loved one who has Alzheimer's move to a new home or into a care facility, make the transition as comfortable as possible.

Plan ahead

If possible, talk to your loved one about preferences for living arrangements while he or she can still make choices. Explore all of your housing options together. It may be harder to make guesses later about what your loved one would want.

If your loved one will be moving to a care facility, make frequent visits before the move. Speak with the staff about your loved one's background and any special needs. Provide details on your loved one's medical and mental health history, including a detailed medication list.

Add familiar touches

Before the move, make your loved one's new room or space look and feel as familiar as possible. Decorate the area with a treasured quilt, a shelf with special items, a favorite chair or other meaningful possessions. Familiar belongings can trigger feelings of ownership and boost your loved one's sense of security.

Also stock the space with pictures of family and friends, memory books or photo albums. Reminiscing about the past can help a person who has Alzheimer's bring important memories into the present. Label the pictures to help staff members or others identify the people in your loved one's life and encourage conversations about the past.

As you're preparing your loved one's room, be careful with heirlooms and priceless or irreplaceable items, however. Consider bringing items that can be replaced easily if necessary — such as costume jewelry or copies of old photos.

The big day

Follow your loved one's normal routine as much as possible on the day of the move. If possible, handle the move during your loved one's best time of day — whether it's in the morning or the afternoon. While you're moving, do your best to stay positive. Your attitude can help your loved one feel safe and secure in the new environment.

Once your loved one is settled, spend extra time with him or her. Encourage friends and loved ones to visit frequently as well. Extra care and attention can help ease your loved one's transition to the new home or facility.

Last Updated: 2010-03-04
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