My loved one was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. What should I do?

Two senior women sitting and talking inside.

Finding out your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be scary and daunting. There are a lot of emotions involved and many factors to consider. Having the right resources and finding the right care are two important priorities. In addition, you’ll want to make sure your loved one feels comfortable and supported throughout the transition. Here are five things that you can do to ease the process.

Choose the Right Community

You’ll want to be sure you choose a community that specializes in memory care. Most memory care programs include dedicated areas of an assisted living community that cater to the residents’ specific memory care needs. Caregivers should seek to understand the residents’ preferences and personal story in order to allow them the proper level of independence. It’s also important to look for a community that offers life-enrichment activities for social, intellectual and physical stimulation.

St. Martin’s in the Pines offers dedicated memory care, referred to as Evergreen. Evergreen caters to residents with early- to late-stage Alzheimer’s and other related memory conditions. Residents receive extra supervision, personal care assistance, and medication administration from a number of professionals, including licensed nurses, medical social workers, geriatric psychiatrists, and resident assistants specially trained in the needs and care of those with Alzheimer’s. The Evergreen staff also organizes and encourages residents to participate in individual and group activities for social, intellectual and physical stimulation.

Ease the Transition

Make the transition as easy as possible for your loved by allowing them to visit the community several times before moving. They should feel comfortable and confident in where they are going. When readying for the move, try not to include your loved one in the packing as to not overwhelm them. You’ll want to arrange the move at a time that aligns with your loved one’s best time of day.

Rely on Professionals

Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Recruiting the help of your loved one’s physician or a counselor can be beneficial in making the transition as smooth as possible. Counselors can not only help the affected family member, but they also can help you understand the diagnosis and come to terms with what it means for your family. Often times, dementia impairs the ability to make decisions, so it’s helpful to have a physician explain that the move to memory care will be a beneficial one.

Make Your Loved One Feel Comfortable

Once you’ve moved your loved one into memory care, make their new home feel like home. Arrange their favorite belongings in their room and include photos of family. See if the chef of the facility can prepare some of their favorite meals. You don’t want them to feel like you are leaving them on their own or that they have to brave this transition alone. Promise to visit them on a set schedule each week.

Understand How it Affects You

Your loved one isn’t the only one impacted by an Alzheimer’s diagnosis—this may also be a difficult time for you and your family. Know that the decision to move your beloved family member into memory care is what’s best for them in the long run. Try to remain positive throughout the transition. And of course, rely on professionals and other family members for support throughout every step of the journey.

 

Arrange your tour of St. Martin’s today.