Five Things to Consider Before Your Family Member With Alzheimer Moves In
According to Redfin, “Alzheimer’s disease affects about 5.4 million Americans, about 5.2 million of which are 65 and older. It can be your grandparent, your cousin, your sibling or even your parent who faces the diagnosis. Eventually, those with Alzheimer’s require round-the-clock care, and for many families, that means taking the loved one into their own home.” If you and your family have decided that it’s in your loved one’s best interest to be taken in, then you probably have many questions about how to proceed. Before you begin the transition, here are a few considerations to consider before move-in day.
1. Understanding Your Loved One’s Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects each person differently. Before you make any plans for how to improve your home to fit your loved one’s needs, you should know exactly what his or her needs are. Alzheimer’s is a disease that progresses in stages: early, middle, and late. Knowing which stage your loved one is at will determine the kind and amount of preparation you put into your home. For instance, a loved one still in the early stage of the disease will likely need less initial adjustments to your home’s living space, while a loved one with late-stage Alzheimer’s will require more changes to your home to ensure safety and comfort.
2. Retrofitting Your Home’s Space
Initially, you will want to consider where loved ones will sleep, eat, bathe, and spend their free time. If they have little trouble getting around, you might not need to make too many changes to your home’s layout, but as their mobility decreases, the rooms they need to access should be in close proximity to one another. Stairs can be a real obstacle for seniors and become an increasing liability as they age. If your home is split among two or more floors, you should consider changing room arrangements so that they can easily access the bedroom, bathroom, living room, etc. all on one floor.
3. Setting Up for Comfort
You want loved ones to feel comfortable in their twilight years, so the house should reflect a living space that provides the kind of environment that makes them feel at home. The easiest way to do this is to trade out some furniture and elements from their old home into yours. If they have a big comfy chair that they’ve always loved, there’s no reason for them to part with it. It may not fit into your current living room aesthetic, but they will appreciate having a little bit of their old home in yours.
4. Preparing for Safety
The big questions that you’ve probably been raking your mind over, is how to go about making your home as safe as possible for your loved one. Alzheimer’s disease affects one’s memory and ability to focus. As your loved one’s Alzheimer’s progresses, he or she may become increasingly confused and wind up in situations that could potentially be harmful. The best approach to prepare is a proactive one. This may include adding handrails in bathrooms, non-slip rugs in living rooms, and out-of-reach cabinet locks to keep your loved one away from medication and other potentially harmful household items.
5. Easing Into the Transition
You may be under a bit of pressure as you prepare your home for your incoming loved one, but it’s important to remember that he or she is probably feeling just as tentative about moving in as you are. In most cases, the elderly family members have been living in the same home for many decades before their Alzheimer’s forced them to move out. They suddenly have to adapt to a new living situation with new rules and a new daily routine. To ease the transition, you should simply communicate with them about both of your expectations until you’re on the same page.
It may take some time before both you and your loved one adjust to the new living situation. Whenever going through a big life change, it takes compassion and patience to see things through. Remember that although the situation may be difficult at first, there is nothing more important than family.
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