The effects of dementia have no logic. They can appear slowly and gradually, or creep up on you without a moment’s notice. Either way, when you’re witnessing this happening to a loved one it’s going to be distressing.
Then there’s the next shock. Realising that it’s time for your loved one to transition into aged care. It’s a hard thing to get a handle on. Admitting that neither you nor your loved one can take care of themselves is difficult to admit. But once you and your family have come to terms with it, you’ve committed to the transition (whether it’s at home care or a facility) how do you prepare?
Here are our 9 tips to prepare your loved one for the transition into aged care:
- Don’t get them involved in the details
It’s common to think that involving them in the planning will help them with the transition. But with dementia this isn’t so. By involving them in too much, you run the risk of overwhelming them completely.
- Don’t tell them they need more help
As you try and find ways to prepare them, you may want to explain to them that they need more help as a means of justification. Generally speaking, if they’re at the point that they need round the clock care, they probably don’t know they’ve got a problem – telling them they need more help will just distress them.
- Recognise the transition will be challenging
As long as you all recognise from the start that this will be a challenge, you’ll be more resilient as the process unfolds.
- Utilise the experience and knowledge of their aged care team.
Work with counsellors and managers to ease the transition. Call upon their knowledge and experience to help, after all they do this on a daily basis.
- Tell the staff about your loved one
Let them get to know them before aged care starts. Any stories, habits, favourite foods etc. This will help the staff to set as familiar a scene as possible.
- Be prepared to take some time off
Have the conversations with your workplace as soon as you start planning. It’s likely that you’ll need to take some time off during the transition process.
- Give your loved one some time to adjust without you
As much as you love them and want to hold their hand through the transition, give them some time to adjust alone. Giving them that time will allow them to participate in activities and adjust to the change.
- Use the power of music
Music has been shown to decrease anxiety and stress in dementia and Alzheimer patients.
- Remember it will get easer
It will be hard at first but it will get easier, just hold on to that and the knowledge you are doing the best thing for all.