Are Changes in a Senior Loved One Normal Signs of Aging or Something Else?

March 26, 2018

Normal AgingFamilies often wonder if the changes they are witnessing in a senior loved one are caused by normal aging or something more. Learn how to tell the difference.

Forgetting the name of someone you just met or where you left your cell phone can happen to anyone in the midst of a busy day. Most of us have experienced it. But when that forgetfulness begins to interfere with everyday life, it might be more than just stress that is causing it. Memory loss is one of the early signs of dementia.

How can you tell if the changes you are noticing in an older loved one are part of the normal aging process or if they are caused by something more serious?

We have some information to help you recognize the warning signs that should be documented and discussed with the senior’s primary care physician.

Early Warning Signs of Dementia

What are the warning signs of dementia? Here are a few of the most common:

1. Problems remembering

Short-term memory loss is probably the most widely known symptom of dementia. Older adults who are in the early stages of dementia or  Alzheimer’s—the most common form of dementia—typically struggle to recall recently learned information such as a person’s name, a new phone number, or the date and time of an appointment. You may notice your loved one has begun to ask you to repeat the same information over and over.

2. Misplacing things

Another sign of potential trouble is when a senior begins regularly misplacing or losing things. Because short-term memory is impacted early in a person with dementia, an older adult can’t retrace their steps to find missing items. If you keep finding your father’s car keys in strange places or if your mom keeps losing her purse, it might be something to talk with them and their physician about.

3. Getting lost in familiar places

Confusion, wandering, getting lost, and disorientation are also early warning signs of dementia. In fact, 60% of the nation’s 5 million Alzheimer’s patients wander at some point. An adult with early dementia might get lost driving to a familiar destination or even in a store they’ve been to hundreds of times before.

4. Speech and word problems

Some seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s begin to struggle with carrying on a conversation. They have difficulty finding the right words or remembering a question that was just asked of them. They might call familiar objects by the wrong name, calling the stove a window, for example. Since they are often aware of—and embarrassed by—the problem, the senior may begin to withdraw from social activities and family gatherings.

5. Mismanaging finances

Judgment and abstract thought are often impacted early in the disease process. This makes it difficult for a senior with early dementia to safely manage household finances. They might neglect paying one utility bill while paying another one several times. This also puts them at increased risk for becoming the victim of a financial scam.

If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a senior with memory loss, a memory care community might be a solution to explore.

Memory Care at Legacy Senior Living

Legacy Senior Living is proud to serve adults with memory disorders. We call our memory care services The Harbor. We invite you to schedule a personal appointment at a community near you so you can see our state-of-the-art memory care program in person.

7 Nutrition Tips to Help You Age Well

March 19, 2018

7 tips to help you age well

Nutrition plays a key role in aging well. Use these 7 tips to adopt a healthy diet at any age.

While most of us know that good nutrition is a key factor in determining how well we age, many of us aren’t exactly sure what constitutes a healthy diet. It seems as if there is a new diet being touted on television as the latest and greatest way to eat almost every week. It’s no wonder people are so confused, so we’ve collect 7 tips to help you age well with healthy eating habits.

March is National Nutrition Month, a time to raise awareness about the role a healthy diet plays in successful aging and what credible research says we should base our diet on.

7 Tips to Help You Age Well

Here’s what we know about healthy aging and diet:

  1. Fruit and vegetables: You can reap the rewards of a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants by creating menus comprised mainly of fruits and vegetables. Brightly-colored vegetables like spinach, beets, and kale, as well as deep-colored fruits like blueberries, black berries, and tomatoes are all good options to incorporate in to your diet. These foods can also help to decrease inflammation in the body.
  2. Protein: Older adults often fail to eat enough protein to keep their muscles and bones strong. Easy-to-prepare, low-fat protein sources, such as poultry, fish, legumes, beans, eggs, and nuts, are often best for seniors. Avoid protein sources that are high in fat, such as red meat.
  3. Dairy: Older adults are often diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes it is because they don’t spend as much time outdoors soaking up vitamin D from the sun’s rays, while other times it is because their body doesn’t process vitamin D and calcium properly. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone loss, bone fractures, and osteoporosis. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are all rich in vitamin D and calcium. Mushrooms, canned tuna, and sardines are other good choices.
  4. Limit refined sugar: Most of us eat far too much sugar, often without realizing it. The American Heart Association guidelines suggest that American women limit sugar intake to just 100 calories per day (about six teaspoons or 20 grams) and men to 150 calories per day (about nine teaspoons or 36 grams). The best way to keep sugar from creeping in to your diet is to read food labels, even for things that seem healthy. Ketchup, yogurt, fruit juice, protein bars, salad dressing, and canned fruits can all be hidden sources of sugar in your diet.
  5. Whole grains: Quinoa, oatmeal, grits, brown rice, wild rice, and whole-grain bread are all good things to include in your diet. These fiber-rich foods help stabilize blood sugar and manage cholesterol while also promoting digestive health.
  6. Avoid trans fats: By now you’ve probably heard that trans fats are bad for you, but like many people, you aren’t sure why. It’s largely because these unhealthy fats are linked to heart disease and other chronic health problems. Trans fats are especially high in some fast foods and convenience foods like frozen dinners.
  7. Stay hydrated: Water is another key part of a healthy diet. It helps flush toxins out of the body while also encouraging bowel regularity and a healthy immune system. If you or your senior loved one aren’t big water drinkers, foods like spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, melon, berries, cucumbers, and grapes all have a high water content that promotes hydration.

One final tip to help you create healthy menus for yourself or a senior you love is to take advantage of the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) calculator. The DRI was created by the Department of Agriculture to help calculate daily nutrient goals. Enter your height, weight, age, and activity level to receive a personalized report for everything from vitamin C to fiber.

The Latest News on Aging Well

If you’d like to stay up to date with the latest news on aging well, we encourage you to bookmark the Legacy Senior Living Blog and stop back often. We share new information and resources on our blog each week.

Tax Deductions and Senior Care: What Families Should Know

March 12, 2018

Tax deductions for Senior Care

Wondering if your assisted living expenses are tax deductible? This information from Legacy Senior Living can help you learn more.

When an older adult is ready to downsize and move to a senior living community, families often work together to create a budget and a plan for financing their transition. In fact, how to finance retirement living is one of the questions we receive most often during our conversations with families.

There are many myths and misunderstandings that can make financing senior living especially confusing for seniors and their loved ones. For example, some adult children mistakenly believe a parent’s Medicare will help pay for all or part of their loved one’s assisted living expenses. Unfortunately, it does not. But there are other programs to help finance senior care that are often overlooked.

Financing Senior Living

Here are a few potential funding solutions to explore:

  • Aid & Attendance pension benefits for veterans and surviving spouses
  • Life settlement funding that allows a senior to sell a life insurance policy
  • Short-term loans to help bridge the gap between when a home is sold or asset is liquidated and a senior moves to assisted living
  • Long-term care insurance policies that cover assisted living

Older adults or their families can also meet with a tax advisor to discuss the tax deductions available for senior care expenses.

Senior Care Expenses and Tax Deductions

When it comes to senior care tax deductions, the laws can be more than a little complicated. We typically recommend that families seek the advice of a tax professional who has experience working with aging service providers. An experienced tax advisor will be able to determine if you or your senior loved one meet the qualifications for a tax deduction and how much you are entitled to deduct.

Before your meeting, we suggest you review two different areas of the tax code that pertain to senior living:

  • IRS Tax Publication 502: This publication outlines the medical and dental expense regulations. It will give you a better understanding of what the IRS considers to be medical care and what financial threshold you must meet. It also includes the rule on what a “qualifying relative” is.
  • IRS Tax Publication 503: Like publication 502, this IRS publication further explains dependent care expenses. It also covers which expenses you can deduct for a spouse’s medical care.

Financing Senior Living

While we can’t give you advice on tax deductions for senior living, we can help you explore potential funding solutions. Call the Legacy Senior Living community near you to schedule a time for a personal visit.

How Senior Living Employees Improve the Quality of Life for Residents

March 7, 2018

Employees support a healthier life for seniorsLegacy Senior Living salutes its dedicated team members who help to improve the lives of residents every day. Learn how senior living supports a healthier life.

Where we live as we grow older influences how successfully we age. Companionship and social activities may help a senior avoid the dangerous health consequences caused by isolation such as depression and diabetes. Access to wellness programs and good nutrition is also vital to a healthier life—as is access to personal care and support.

These are just a few of the benefits senior living communities offer. Behind each community is a team of employees committed to helping residents live their best quality of life.

In honor of Employee Appreciation Day on March 2nd, we share how our caregivers and team members helping seniors have a healthier life every day.

The Health Benefits of a Senior Living Community

Here are some of the places you will find employees actively engaged with residents:

  • Life enrichment: Isolation is a health risk for older adults. In addition to raising the risk for chronic health problems like cardiac disease, depression, and diabetes, researchers say it is also tied to early mortality. Life enrichment team members at Legacy Senior Living communities keep residents engaged in a variety of daily activities including art classes, craft projects, current events, daily devotionals, and more.
  • Dining services: Seniors are at increased risk of malnutrition or poor nutrition for a wide range of reasons including difficulty preparing meals or a lack of transportation to the grocery store. Our dining services team members create meals that are both nutritious and delicious. They serve them in an atmosphere designed to support socializing, laughter, and fun.
  • Caregivers: Our dedicated caregivers provide assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, medication management, and overall wellness. This gives residents the support needed to live their most independent life.
  • Facilities staff: Residents in our communities have the best of two worlds: their own private apartment, but also the freedom from the responsibilities of home ownership. Our team members handle housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, and all repairs.

There are many more employees who work hard to improve the quality of life for each of our residents. From our marketing teams to our transportation staff and social workers, please join us in recognizing the role our dedicated employees play in helping older adults live their best lives.

Legacy Senior Living

If you or an older adult in your life might benefit from a move to an assisted living community, we hope you will consider Legacy Senior Living. With communities in six southeastern states, we have a variety of locations for you to explore and learn more.

A Look Back at Black History Month Over the Years

February 26, 2018

Woodson and Black History Month 2018Learn more about Black History Month including the role a man named Dr. Carter G. Woodson played in shining the spotlight on the contributions of black Americans.

The roots of Black History Month date back to the year 1926 and a man named Dr. Carter G. Woodson. A child of former slaves, Dr. Woodson spent his boyhood in Kentucky working in the coal mines. It wasn’t until the age of 20 that he started high school. He graduated within two years and went on to study at Harvard, where he was awarded a Ph.D.

After his studies were complete, Dr. Woodson took on a new challenge. Because he was dismayed to discover history books at the time largely ignored the contributions of black Americans, in 1915 he established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now known as Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

But that wouldn’t be the end of his attempts to shine the spotlight on the contributions of black Americans.

Black History Month is Celebrated in February

In 1926, Dr. Woodson launched an annual initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history. He chose February for Black History Month. Among the reasons he cited for doing so were the birthdays of two men who had an impact on the lives of black Americans: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Black History Month Statistics and Trends

In 2017, Pew Research released a study highlighting the progress of black Americans. Some of their most notable findings include:

  • While more black Americans are completing high school, they still haven’t caught up with their Caucasian peers. 93% of white adults age 25 and older have a high school diploma compared with 88% of black adults.
  • The number of black Americans with a bachelor’s degree continues to trend upward. It reached 23% in 2015.
  • Members of Congress who are black reached an all-time high in 2017, up to 50 (47 in the House and 3 in the Senate) from a total of 13 in 1971 (12 in the House and 1 in the Senate).
  • Significant gaps in income still exist. In 2015, the median household income for black Americans was $44,100 versus $75,100 for whites.
  • When it comes to median net worth, white households had a combined wealth in 2013 that was roughly 13 times greater than that of black households coming in at $144,200 for white households and $11,200 for black households.
  • The poverty rate has fallen for black Americans dipping from 31.1% in 1976 to 24.1% in 2015.
  • 61% of black Americans say race relations in the U.S. are generally bad, and only 34% believe race relations are generally good.

2018 Black History Month

The 2018 theme for Black History Month will be African Americans in Time of War. You can visit the Association for the Study of African American Life and History to learn more about planned activities and events.

What to Do When a Senior with Alzheimer’s is Hospitalized

February 19, 2018

When a senior with Alzheimer's is hospitalizedA hospital visit can be especially difficult for people with Alzheimer’s. Use these tips to help make their stay go more safely and smoothly.

A planned or unexpected trip to the hospital is frightening and stressful at any age. The clinical environment can make it hard to rest. The pain and discomfort of the illness or injury, as well as the uncertainty of what comes next, can be unsettling. When a senior with Alzheimer’s is hospitalized, the experience can be even more difficult. The change in routine and strange environment can increase confusion and agitation. The following tips can help you better manage a loved one’s hospitalization.

Hospital Admissions and Alzheimer’s Disease

If a senior you love has Alzheimer’s disease and they are scheduled to be admitted to the hospital for surgery or another procedure, talk with your physician about your concerns ahead of time. They might be able to connect you with a hospital liaison who can arrange for a private room or a room in a quieter area of the hospital.

Also make sure you understand what to expect from the procedure and the recovery that follows. Specifically discuss:

  • Risks and potential complications
  • Expected recovery time and special needs
  • If and how the procedure might be impacted by your loved one’s disease

The good news is that there are steps you can take to make a hospital stay less traumatic for a senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease or a similar form of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests:

  • One-on-one coverage: Having someone in your loved one’s hospital room around the clock is especially important. The unfamiliar environment might increase agitation and put the senior at risk for a fall or for wandering. It also helps keep everyone informed if a family member is in the room during times the physicians visit and when medications are given. Some families have found it helpful to hire a paid caregiver to cover the hours of the day when loved ones can’t be present.
  • Make the room look familiar: Another tip is to make the hospital room look as much like home as possible. Bring the senior’s photos from home, their robe and slippers, and their favorite blanket or throw.
  • Comforting routine: Part of the challenge when a senior with Alzheimer’s is hospitalized is the change in routine. Structure is important for people with memory loss. When they are unable to stick with their normal structure, they are more likely to experience anxiety and agitation. Whenever possible, bring elements of their daily routine to the hospital. If they like to listen to music in the morning, for example, set up a playlist on your phone and use it in their room. Or if afternoons are spent engaged in craft projects, find ways to keep them busy with simple projects between procedures and tests.
  • Non-verbal communication: Since adults with Alzheimer’s often lose their verbal communication skills fairly early in the disease process, looking for non-verbal signs of trouble is important. Pay special attention to facial expressions and body language that might signal they are in pain or experiencing discomfort.

Plan Now for an Unscheduled Hospitalization

While no one likes to think the worst, planning for the unexpected is important when a senior has Alzheimer’s disease. One way to do this is by assembling an emergency bag you can quickly grab in the event of a surprise trip to the hospital. Your emergency kit should include:

  • Contact information for all physicians and health care providers involved in their care
  • Medical history that denotes previous surgeries, health problems, and hospitalizations
  • Current medication list, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements
  • List of any known allergies and previous problems with medications
  • Copies of advance directives, as well as insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid cards
  • A note you can post at their bedside that explains their disease along with any notable concerns like wandering behavior or falls
  • A change of clothes and necessary personal hygiene products.

The National Institute on Aging’s Guide to Hospital Visits for Individuals with Memory Loss has additional tips you might find useful if a loved one with Alzheimer’s is hospitalized.

Memory Care at Legacy Senior Living

If you are considering a memory care program for someone you love, we hope Legacy Senior Living is on your list of potential care partners. The Harbor, our state of the art memory care, is designed to help each resident live up to their highest potential every day.

We invite you to call the Legacy community nearest you to learn more today!

Why Don’t Seniors Report When They Are Victims of Fraud?

February 12, 2018

Older adults are targets of scams and fraud.

Seniors are often the target of scams and fraud but rarely report it. Here’s what families should know.

It’s an unfortunate reality but one that is important to be aware of: older adults are targets of scams and fraud more often than any other age group. The problem is further compounded by the fact that when seniors do fall victim to fraud, they often don’t report it to local police.

Research shows that only 1 in 25 fraud-related crimes are reported to law enforcement. This under-reporting makes it difficult for families of seniors to realize there is a problem and help intervene on their loved one’s behalf.

Why aren’t older adults reporting these crimes when they touch their lives?

There are a variety of reasons and some are unique to the perceptions surrounding aging.

3 Reasons Older Adults Don’t Report Fraud

1. Seniors see it is a sign of old age: Falling victim to a crime of this type is often perceived to be a sign of old age. Many people who are older might not want to admit they’ve been scammed for this very reason. They think it is just plain embarrassing to be scammed out of their money at an age when they are supposed to be wise and have learned so many life lessons.

2. Fear of being perceived as incompetent: It shouldn’t be this way, but it often is. When an older adult becomes the victim of a crime, well-meaning loved ones might see it as a sign that they should take over finances. Being responsible for managing our life and budget is closely tied to independence. While some seniors might welcome a little help, losing control completely before they are ready can be demoralizing. The fear of losing this part of their independence might be another reason older adults fail to admit they’ve been victimized, even to their own family.

3. Not sure where or how to report fraud: Another problem that keeps seniors from reporting scams is that they frequently fall victim to a crime through a telephone or online scam. Because of it, they aren’t sure who to inform or how to go about doing so. In most cases, seniors should start by calling their local law enforcement. Local authorities can start the investigation or help connect the senior with the appropriate government agency.

Remember, being the victim of a crime is difficult at any age. For some people, just the idea of being forced to recount the scenario over and over for law enforcement doesn’t seem worth the effort.

This can be especially true in situations where a senior has been victimized via the phone or internet and doubt they will be able to recover any of their assets. They might just want to put the incident behind them and move on. While adult children might disagree with this approach, it might be a time to respect a senior loved one’s feelings and move on, too.

Family Resources for Financing Senior Living

If you are trying to help an older adult you love explore their options for financing senior living, Financing Retirement has helpful resources for you to review. From benefits for veterans to long-term care insurance and life care funding, you are sure to learn more about financing senior living.

7 Ways to Cut Your Risk of Cancer

February 5, 2018

Lower your cancer risk. Nearly 50 percent of most cancers can be prevented.Experts say as much as half of all cancer might be preventable. Learn 7 steps you can take that might help lower your cancer risk.

Cancer has touched most of our lives in same manner, whether it is a personal diagnosis with the disease or watching a loved one battle it. While many of us feel powerless to prevent this disease, experts say you can lower your cancer risk. Researchers believe as much as 50% of all cancers can be prevented with positive lifestyle choices.

In honor of National Cancer Month, we share 7 steps you can take to lower your cancer risk.

7 Steps to Lower Your Cancer Risk

1. Healthy diet: What you eat can lower or raise your risk for many types of cancer ranging from cancer of the colon to breast, kidney, lung, and liver cancer. A plant-based diet rich with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans is generally believed to be best. Limiting your intake of processed meats also helps.

2. Physical fitness: As most of us already know, exercise plays an important role in aging well. It helps prevent disease, maintain flexibility and strength, and boost the spirit. If you aren’t sure what types of physical fitness activities are best for you or how much exercise you need each day, talk with your physician. They can help you set realistic goals that you can safely achieve.

3. Healthy weight: Obesity is linked to a variety of health concerns such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease. It also exacerbates the pain of arthritis. When it comes to cancer, obesity is often found in people who are diagnosed with cancer of the breast, colon, rectum, kidney, and pancreas.

4. Physician partner: While it’s not a good idea to do, young adults don’t always take time to find a primary care physician they get to know and trust. As we grow older, however, this partnership between physician and patient becomes vital. Your physician can help you identify potential risk factors for illness or disease based on your lifestyle, personal history, and family medical history. The doctor can also keep you on track with routine screenings important at every stage in life. It helps them intervene early and prevent small concerns from becoming life-threatening health problems.

5. Avoid tobacco: This is one of the single best steps you can take to lower your risk of cancer. Tobacco is directly linked to cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix, and kidney. So if you smoke, find a smoking cessation program to help you stop. Avoid being around secondhand smoke. Experts say it’s just as deadly as smoking over the long term. Smokeless tobaccos are also linked to different types of cancer including in the mouth and pancreas.

6. Sun safety: Many of us enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. It lifts the spirits and boosts the mood, especially for those who live in colder climates where they are stuck inside much of the winter. But exposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to skin damage and skin cancer so it’s important to practice good sun safety. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when you are outside or riding in a car. Keep a hat on hand to wear while gardening or enjoying other outdoor activities.

7. Limit alcohol consumption: A glass of wine can be a nice way to end an evening with friends or catch up with loved ones on a wintery afternoon. Consuming too much alcohol, however, can increase your risk for cancer. Excessive use of alcohol can raise your risk of developing cancer, specifically cancer of the throat, liver, breast, mouth, and esophagus.

Live a Healthy Life at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living, we empower residents to live their best life and develop a genuine sense of well-being. Our Signature Programs are designed to promote a better quality of life for older adults whether they are active and independent or in need of memory care support for dementia.

We invite you to schedule a private visit to the Legacy community nearest you to learn more!

Identity Theft Prevention in the Wake of Corporate Hacks

January 29, 2018

Identity theft has become a serious threat across the country. Major corporations have even fallen victim. Here’s what you need to know to keep a senior safe.

The New Year rings in the beginning of tax season, and adult children often help their senior parents with this process. Some families play a more hands-on role than others. One thing the entire family should be aware of is that seniors are being targeted more and more for identify theft during tax season each year.

The Federal Trade Commission says that 36% of adults 50 years of age and older fall victim to identity theft every year. An increasing number of these cases are related to taxpayer identity theft and fraud.

Common Types of Identity Theft

Unfortunately, scammers are always on the lookout for opportunities to take advantage of people they think are vulnerable and have good credit. For these criminals, older adults often fit this description.

By stealing their identity, the criminal can apply for credit cards and loans in the senior’s name. A few common tactics scammers use to get your loved one are:

  • Junk mail claiming the senior has an unclaimed prize or vacation
  • Phishing emails promoting contests or unclaimed prize money
  • Phone calls claiming to be from a grandchild in trouble

A very common scam during tax season is a fake call from the IRS claiming the senior owes money that must be paid immediately by phone.

Remind your senior loved one that neither the IRS nor any other government agency will call demanding money. They will communicate via written correspondence.

What Adult Children Should Know About Senior Identity Theft

From phishing scams to theft of mail, here’s what else you should do to protect an older loved one.

Store Medicare and insurance cards in a safe location.

Having your purse or wallet stolen or lost is a hassle at any age. Older adults are more likely to carry personal information that can put them at risk for identify theft.

Help a senior find a safe location at home to store:

  • Social Security card
  • Documents that contain their Social Security number
  • Medicare and health insurance cards

Encourage your loved one to leave these documents at home unless they need them for a specific appointment that day.

Consider enrolling with an identity theft protection company

Another option for seniors to consider is enrolling with a company designed to protect credit and identity. Consumers Advocate suggests exploring:

  • LifeLock
  • com
  • MetLife Defender

Review the senior’s credit report at least once a year

Another way to prevent identity theft is by reviewing the senior’s credit report at least once a year. Credit agencies are required by law to furnish one free copy of this report each year. If you review it together you can look for suspicious activity and incorrect information.

If you find something that doesn’t look right, contact the credit bureau to dispute the finding. And if you don’t feel like you are getting resolution, you might need to enlist the services of an identity protection service, an attorney, or even the local police.

Monitor bank and credit card statements regularly

You might also want to extend an offer to your parent to sit down every month or so to help them review their bank and credit card statements. If you live far away, you can do this online. It’s just one more way of protecting your loved one from identity theft or another form of financial fraud.

Legacy Senior Living Blog

Here on the Legacy Senior Living Blog you’ll find other informative and timely posts about all sorts of topics, like how to honor the veterans in your local community, or how to keep a senior loved one safe on Facebook. We hope you will bookmark our blog and stop back often!

7 Tips for Moving to Memory Care

January 22, 2018

7 tips to help the move to memory care

Are you starting to search for a memory care community for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease? These tips can help make the move to memory care go more smoothly.

If you are preparing for a senior loved one’s move to a memory care community, you might not be sure how and where to start. Moving a loved one who has memory loss can create unique challenges. Knowing how to manage them can make the transition go more smoothly for everyone.

7 Tips for Managing a Senior’s Move to Memory Care

These tips can help you with everything from downsizing to planning for moving day.

1. Establish realistic goals: Our first tip is to set realistic goals for this process. Unless your loved one’s safety or health is at risk and you need to move in a hurry, try to work at a pace you feel comfortable with. It can help you feel more confident that you are making good decisions which can, in turn, help decrease anxiety for you and your senior loved one.

2. Create a floor plan: Once you have selected which community your loved one will be moving to, ask the staff for a floor plan of the apartment. Make sure it has all of the dimensions for each room listed. Then you can get to work creating a layout in which all the furniture and belongings will fit.

3. Identify “must move” items: Creating an environment that looks familiar is important when a senior has memory loss. So give some thought to those pieces of furniture and the belongings your loved one is most attached to. Perhaps it is a chair they like to sit in and watch television or a quilt they’ve had for years. Make certain those items have a place in their new home.

4. Downsizing: Some families prefer to get their senior loved one settled in a memory care community before they begin the process of downsizing. For others, selling the home first might be a financial necessity. Either way, it can be emotional to downsize and sell a loved one’s home. It often helps to begin in the rooms used less often and to sort belongings by their final destination. Label boxes with tags that say “Move,” “Donate,” “Family,” and “Trash.” As you work your way through the house, separate items into the appropriate box.

5. Get involved before the move: Depending upon what stage of the disease your loved one’s Alzheimer’s is, it might help to visit the community a few times and get involved in activities before their actual moving day. Life enrichment programs at memory care communities are designed to help older adults feel successful and independent. For people with memory loss who may be struggling, that is important. Talk with the staff at the community for advice and guidance about getting involved early.

6. Create a schedule: Once you have a move-in date established, take time to create a schedule and plan for a smooth transition. You might also want to explore moving resources, such as senior move managers and senior certified realtors. They can help you with everything from packing up the home to obtaining quotes from movers.

7. Moving day plans: Our last tip is to plan carefully for moving day. You might need to ask a trusted friend to care for your loved one on moving day while you supervise the movers. Your loved one might be able to go to the community ahead of you, have lunch, and attend an activity in lieu of being home for a chaotic day of moving. Don’t forget to put together a box of moving day essentials you want to the senior’s new apartment transport yourself.

At Legacy Senior Living, we know the search for a memory care community for a senior you love can feel overwhelming. We are happy to answer any questions you might have about moving a loved one with memory loss. Call the community nearest you to set up a time for a private visit.