It may be a good idea to move someone with Dementia if their current living situation is unsafe; however, it must be done with careful consideration of their current stability and condition. Moving a senior with dementia can lead to an aggressive standoff or further disease progression, which can negate the positive benefits of relocating the person. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the impact of a move on seniors with dementia.

Elderly parents with dementia have unique care needs, and as the disease progresses, these needs often become too overwhelming for family members to care for their parents alone. Skilled nursing facilities have trained caregivers who know what to expect when dealing with residents with dementia, but the task of relocating these seniors to a new home can be devastating if done without considering the timing and circumstances of the move. 

When Is the Right Time to Relocate a Senior With Dementia?

The decision to place a parent with dementia in community care is never an easy one. Adult children often feel responsible for caring for their elderly parents, even after receiving news of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. However, as the disease progresses and a parent regresses cognitively, keeping them in the family home can become too much for the adult child’s spouse and children to deal with. It can also become dangerous for the senior, who may become confused or aggressive and lash out or wander into an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Unsafe living conditions is the main reason to consider moving a senior with dementia into a more secure setting. Most family homes don’t have an advanced security system or secured enclosure to keep seniors from wandering. It is also a good idea to move seniors into a different setting if there is no supervision in the home, and they cannot complete daily living tasks such as bathing or eating without assistance.

How Can the Impact of Moving for Seniors With Dementia Be Lessened?

Family members should be aware of their loved one’s mental and emotional states. It is never a good idea to move a senior with dementia who is showing signs of aggression or disorientation, as this can speed the progression of his condition. 

Not all home situations require an immediate relocation. Some situations give families time to take steps to minimize the impact of moving. These tips should help with moving a senior that requires memory care:

  1. Let seniors take part in the moving process as much as possible. For instance, let them choose furniture or sentimental pieces to take with them, and let them help pack everything if they can.
  2. If moving into a skilled nursing facility, meet with the senior’s future caregivers in advance. Let them know the senior’s preferences, needs and established routines to accommodate them as much as possible.
  3. Match the layout and placement of sentimental items in the new home to the old comfortable home to produce a sense of familiarity.
  4. If a gradual move to a skilled nursing facility isn’t possible, move in during the least busy part of the day—and before sunset—to minimize the noise and chaos of group living.