Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

How to prepare for moving your loved one with dementia into your home

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If one of your loved ones suffers from a progressive cognitive disease such as dementia, you may be worried about their welfare and safety in their own home.

As their condition progresses, dementia sufferers become less and less safe in their own home. They start forgetting more and more things, they may forget to take their medicines or even eat. With time, they may begin wandering or may even end up falling or hurting themselves. A person with progressive dementia should not be left unsupervised.

There are a variety of options for how to look after dementia sufferers. Some family members choose to move their loved ones into their home, with or without the extra support of carers. Further down the line, as dementia progresses they will enlist the help of professional carers.

Preparations for moving

If you’ve made the choice of moving your loved one with dementia into your home, there are a few things you should consider in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. First of all, you should realise that this is a major life transition, both for your loved one and for you. The option that you are considering should be discussed with your loved one as well, no matter what cognitive state they are in. If you start the moving process without letting your loved one know what is happening and they will suddenly find themselves in a place unknown to them, they will feel extremely distressed.

Secondly, ask for your loved one’s opinions and preferences for living arrangements, while they can still make reasonable choices. Take as many of their cherished belongings into your home, in order to make their new living space as close to their heart as possible.

Thirdly, family dynamics matter massively when considering to move one of your loved ones into your home. Make sure to openly communicate with all members of the family how this may impact your daily life and whether there are any unresolved issues or feelings which this move may bring about. Discuss withing your family what are the positives and negatives of this move and how it will impact your household.

At the same time, you should consider that you will have a person that you will need to look after. Think about who will take on this responsibility, if it will be divided between the members of your family and whether you may need to enlist the support of a professional carer. This typically happens progressively. Families choose to bring in a part-time carer and after some time advance to full-time care or live-in care, so that your loved one with dementia may be eased into the idea as well.

Transitioning into the home

As mentioned above, no matter if your loved one with dementia is in the beginning stages of the disease or in the later stages, the move to a new environment will be disruptive to them. The goal for you is to make the transition as smooth as possible.

When moving your loved one with dementia into your home you should ensure that their living space will be ready for when they arrive. After you have found out what their likes and dislikes are and what they would prefer to take with them, make sure to arrange their room to their linking. This will help them adjust to their new space easily. Maybe even try to arrange the furniture in the same way as they have it in their own home.

Coming back to personal belongings, you should aim to take as many of their cherished belongings into their new home. Make sure their room feels as familiar as possible, by bringing their favourite blanket, pillows, paintings, photographs or even furniture. These cherished and familiar belongings will trigger feelings of ownership and boost your loved one’s feeling of security.

More than this, all efforts should be made to maintain your loved one’s routine when they move into your home. Make the move in the best time of the day for them and keep positive throughout the process, smiling, using words of reassurance and encouragement with your loved one.

Extra support at home

If you and your family determine that you need extra support with your loved one in your home, you may enlist the support of a carer. Guardian Carers is able to support families with any type of necessity they may have. If you’ve just moved your loved one with dementia into your home and you need some help to support their daily routine and ease them into their new environment, a part-time carer or companion may be just what you need.

Our carers can be there for your loved one when you need a bit of respite or to support you with their daily care needs. This can be anything from simple companionship, such as accompanying your loved one on activities or enjoying a cup of tea together to more in-depth care such as helping them with mobility or personal care.

Any needs can be accommodated by our carers and as your loved one’s dementia progresses, the hours that the carer spends with them can be gradually increased also. Many families start by hiring a part-time carer and then slowly moving to live-in care, as a way to easy the loved one with dementia into the idea of having someone look after them.

For any care needs or questions you may have, you can speak to a specialist care consultant with no obligation whatsoever. They will be able to help you determine what is the best course of action for your loved one and develop a care plan together.

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