1. Label your loved one’s items. “Having lived the consequences of a parent with dementia at a residential facility, I can tell you first-hand that residents’ items go missing constantly. It is important to understand that this is not something malicious that one resident does to another—it is just a part of the disease process. People with dementia typically have trouble understanding their surroundings, and they may not be aware of what belongs to them and what does not.
“Labeling your loved one’s items will save you a lot of pain and time. A permanent marker can solve a lot of mysteries—and it can ensure that your loved one’s items will be returned to their room.” – Rachael Wonderlin, 5 Tips for People Choosing Long-Term Dementia Care, Alzheimer’s Reading Room; Twitter: @rachaeldawne
2. Include copies of family photographs. Label them in the back. – Tips for Moving a Loved One into a Memory Care Community, Arbors Memory Care; Twitter: @ArborMemoryCare
3. Make it feel like home. “Move in the good memories. Help them organize and decorate in a way that they recognize. Help them decorate a room that will be calming and comfortable.” – Beginning the Transition, Brookdale Senior Living; Twitter: @BrookdaleLiving
4. Create a Reminiscence Board. “Create a Reminiscence Board full of photos of the important people and events in your senior loved one’s life. Label each photo. It can provide conversation starters for staff when they are first getting to know your family member.” This helped my mother-in-law recognize her grandchildren and was a conversation starter when the family visited her.– Helping Seniors Transition to Memory Care Assisted Living, Five Star Senior Living; Twitter: @5StarSenior
5. Decorate your loved one’s door. “Decorating the front door to their room with a wreath or other personal item can help your loved one remember which room is theirs. These visual cues will be helpful.” – The Cottages Senior Living, Tips for Helping a Loved One Downsize to Residential Memory Care, Seniors BlueBook; Twitter: @alzcottages, @seniorsbluebook
6. Recreate as much of the home environment as possible. Before moving day, work with the staff at your senior loved one’s new home to try to recreate as much of their home environment as possible. It can help to decrease their anxiety and agitation. Think about what some of their favorite things from home are and try to have them in place at the assisted living community before they arrive.– The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Dilemma: How to Transition a Loved One with Dementia to Assisted Living, Seniors in Transition, LLC
7. Decorate your loved one’s room to display her personality. “Decorate your loved one’s room with items that define who this person is. You want staff to be able to know something about them the minute they walk in the room. An example might be a person whose hobby was making quilts. You could put a beautiful quilt on the bed or on the wall, and bring her sewing box with fabric pieces, yarn, thread (no pins) patterns, measuring tape, etc.).” – Laurie White and Beth Spencer, Ten Tips to Ease Transition into Memory Care, Trails of Orono; Twitter: @EbenezerMN