How can I help ease the transition of moving into our daughter's house for my husband

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 12, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My daughter is in the process of selling her house and buying one that would accomodate my husband who has alzheimers and me. Do you think the move to unfamiliar surrodings will upset and confuse him? He said he loves the idea. It also involves selling our present home. I feel it would be nice to live with my daughter, her husand and three grown grandhildren. She is an RN and is familiar with this desease. We are both in our 80 and my health is not that great.

Expert Answers

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

Although the move may be a bit unsettling to him, most likely he will become adjusted in time to his new surroundings. It is quite realistic to expect that he may be somewhat confused and occasionally seem overwhelmed in this unfamiliar 'new world'. However, with the knowledge of your RN daughter and the support of your extended family, this world, that sometimes confounds him, may soon become a recognizable and comfortable environment. Easing the transition of the move from a previous home to a new living situation may be best accomplished by following these helpful hints:

  • Do not move your current furniture while he is present.
  • Arrange for him to be out of the house while his familiar surroundings are disturbed by movers.
  • Have the same furniture and decorations arranged in your new home at your daughter's house before he arrives there.
  • Stay in a hotel or with other family members for a few days to keep him occupied while the move is completed. Hotels can also be unsettling but may be a better choice than the confusion caused by your belongings being moved.
  • Try to have your moved furniture arranged in a pattern similar to the one you are leaving. Place the sofa and favorite chair in the same spatial area as where it was in your current home; hang pictures in as close a pattern as possible to where they hung before the move; and have decorations & memorabilia in plain sight.

Putting these few recommendations into practice should allay his confusion, decrease some of the disorientation, and provide a comforting new setting for your husband. The quasi-familiarity of his new space should ease the confusion that may come from the move itself.

Of great importance is his positive awareness of your daughter's plans and her willingness to make this happen. Being close to family in our later years helps assure our emotional and physical health. You are fortunate to have a loving family wanting to provide support to you and your husband. This far outweighs the possible confusion that, if it occurs, will be short-lived.

Be sure to have an advance plan for his care in place before you move and make arrangements to address his needs as the disease progresses.

This move may also take a physical toll on you. Be sure to take care of yourself prior to and following this major life change.