Does anyone actually like to move?
Moving to a different location can be traumatic for anybody especially any older adult. It
becomes even more difficult if the person moving has some type of cognitive impairment or dementia.Usually a
person with dementia is unable to problem solve and accurately judge when
it is time to move. Deciding to move, planning the move, giving the
person with dementia choice and control, and what to do after the move,
frequently concern staff and family.
When is the time to make the move?
In order to make a transition as smooth as possible, the best time to move is while a person is in good health. Every attempt should be made to move the person with dementia while they are healthy. Because Dementia is a progressive disease, it will only get worse as more time lapses. People with dementia who are forced to move out will likely not to do as well following the move as will people with dementia who move voluntarily. Although the decision may not be voluntary, a person with dementia with do better after a move, if the move was planned, and they had some input.
Common mistakes families make?
Many families wait too long to move a loved one with Dementia. During the mild stage of dementia a person is able to establish routines and learn to navigate their environment. Because we know that a person with dementia functions best in a familiar environment, it is key to move them while they still have the capacity to learn that environment. Once an environment becomes familiar, a community is able to provide the necessary cognitive care to compensate for a person’s decreased abilities therefore allowing them to sustain a level of independence and allow for a good quality of life for years to come.
When a family waits too long to move a person with dementia, their cognitive abilities have declined to the point that they are not able to learn a new environment. At this point the new environment will never become familiar. This results in a longer, and more difficult transition as well as a diminished level of independence for the duration of a person’s stay.
Although this is different for every person, for many people with dementia, late mild dementia stage-early moderate dementia stage is the best time to move to a community that offers cognitive care for all levels of dementia starting with the Mild level all the way to Severe Dementia. During this level of dementia, most people are still able to establish a routine and familiarize themselves with an environment and thrive for years to come.