If your loved one is suffering from memory-related diagnoses such as dementia, memory care can offer them cognitive engagement, social opportunities and an enhanced quality of life. However, the transition period of moving your loved one to memory care can be difficult. When bringing up the topic of moving to memory care, it is important to be empathetic and authentic. Both you and your loved one should ideally feel supported and understood throughout the conversation. Here are some tips on how to talk to your loved one about making the move to memory care.
Practice Active Listening
When we talk to others, we may sometimes find ourselves formulating our responses to them while they are still speaking. Practicing active listening, however, ensures that you are grounded fully in the present conversation and hear what the other party is saying. Here are some ways to practice active listening:
- Validate your loved one: Statements that show you are considering your loved one’s feelings, such as “I understand that this situation can be hard for you”, helps your loved ones feel validated.
- Paraphrasing or asking for clarification: This shows that you are paying attention to your loved one and also gives them the opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings.
- Ask questions: Questions are a good opportunity for your loved one to lay out their feelings and share their perspectives.
Think About Who to Include in the Conversation
While a conversation in a larger group may be preferable for some, involving the entire family in this discussion can make your loved one feel overwhelmed and defensive. You should carefully consider what the best approach is for your loved one based on the relationships within your family and their personal preferences. If your loved one has close family relationships and many adult children, a collaborative family meeting can be a good choice. If your loved one is more sensitive and family meetings can get strained, however, a one-on-one approach may be best.
Time, Setting and Place
These components can be essential in ensuring a successful conversation. A conversation in the morning is good as that is when your loved one is likely feeling at their sharpest and avoids the potential downsides of sundown syndrome. Also, choose a comfortable place that you know your loved one feels safe and secure in. During the conversation itself, physical signaling, in the form of reassuring gestures such as smiling and holding your loved one’s hand can also be comforting.
What Should You Say?
Whatever your current decision is regarding memory care, it is important to keep consistent when talking about it to your loved one. Don’t have one sibling talk about moving your loved one into a lifelong home while another mentions that this is only a temporary solution. Keep your messaging clear, consistent and compassionate to avoid confusing or overwhelming your loved one. Focus on the positive aspects of a memory care program, such as the life enhancement it offers or the sense of community it facilitates. During the conversation, it is important that you ensure that your loved one feels supported and heard. This can go a long way in making the conversation successful.
At Spring Mill, we offer your loved one Personal Care and SHINE® Memory Care in our community. Feel free to reach out to us to find out more!