Any tips on making a move easy for Dad (96) moving to Assisted Living this month? - AgingCare.com

Any tips on making a move easy for Dad (96) moving to Assisted Living this month?

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At last my father is going to a AL facility. I volunteered to help him move: my brother, the POA, is orchestrating it. I am an hour and a half away. Dad has early vascular dementia: He is happy about going to this AL. I wonder how to avoid him obsessing with his things as I organize and pack them for him. Got any suggestions?

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After my mother-in-law (who had insisted on a move from NJ to FL) died there, my father-in-law called and said "Get me out of this awful state!" So we moved him to our town, Lawrence KS, and set him up in Assisted Living in a nearby retirement outfit. My wife made him a miniature home in his room, with a desk and typewriter in one corner and the bed in the opposite corner. We frequently brought him to our house for visits, having fun reminiscing. He had all his marbles until, after only 3 months, he had a stroke and died 3 weeks later at age 84. We still miss him, even 28 years since he died.
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I know the original post is over a year old... but what I did when my Dad moved into senior living was to set up his bedroom the same way he had it when he lived in his house. Bed the same place, his highboy to the left of the bed, his nightstand to the left of the bed. The bathroom was in the same direction if he got up in the middle of the night. Lot of nightlights around.

I was so worried the first night he was alone in his new place, it was like giving up a kitten for adoption, you wonder about their first night away from home.
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I moved my mother while she was in rehab and thank goodness she wasnt present. One thing i did was duplicate her favorite place to sit. Favorite chair, lamp, magazine rack and table positioned exactly as it was at home. That way all her habits came with her.
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Judda - is there a Lighthouse for theBlind anywheres near you? They are a terrific resource. For my mil - legally blind & difficult Personality - she had these readers from them. It was "u " shaped with a large flat base where you could place medicines, checkbook, etc so it could be lit enlarged and read. There was a tabletop model and a soft lap model for reading. Lighthouse has all sorts of other stuff too. The readers were loaned out too.

For my mom, she had lewy body dementia and although she was not blind, lewy for some does vision issues. She would see flooring with patterns (cobblestones) rather than flat carpeting or wood.. Odd shadows - to me the way she said things were was like things were lit with "cookies" aka cucoloris. Lewy has walking issues (tend to do a flat foot shuffle) so all this were an issue for her walking & gait. When she was in IL, I got rid of any dark and deep shelf furniture and got her shallow shelf furniture light in color and lower in height. Think IKEA birch rather than Ethan Allen mahogany. I Put torch lamps on timers in all rooms at her IL so there would be set time for daylight & night whether or not weather cooperated. For whatever reason, mom would not fuss with floor lamps but would with table lamps on timers. Why, well who knows, also put highest wattage bulbs you can.

If he has a private bathroom, figure out a light in there. Facility won't like a corded light but maybe you could get a motion sensor light battery operated to go on. Mount it with that 3 M sticky tape. college dorms don't let them nail stuff, so right now stores have mounting tape, sticky stuff, lightweight frames, cheaper lamps, etc for college in stock.

Also stuff just walks no matter how nice an IL, AL or NH. Sharpie or laundry marker clothes, shoes, anything fabric, etc. For my mom, I also put her initials & a little leaf design in screaming fushia nail polish on toiletries, brushes, eyeglasses, anything hers with a hard surface, etc. Nail stuff now comes in all colors, neons & metallics so you could find a "guy" polish to mark his stuff. Will make it easier to find stuff that walks.
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Wow. Thank you all! Dad is legally blind and also very hard of hearing, almost deaf. Any other ideas? I am going to print those ideas up and make a checklist for us.
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See if you can get his room (or his side of the room) set up for him in advance the afternoon before. Then get in, put up his clothes (mark his name), hang pictures, a large large clock (activities are very time centered), a bulletin board of eome type (the kind that do dry erase are good), get a couple of flashlights & some sort of nightlight set up; get his bed made with his linens (again put his name of initials). Get the TV set up - this can be frustrating & you may need maintence to do. It's like doing a dorm room for the elder set.

If they allow them to have a mini refrig, think about getting one and putting it on a stand. This is a big trend for college dorms living. Pottery Barn has refrig, their stands etc in all sorts of colors for the college set that are ideal in size for AL. (We have a recent HS graduate about to start fall semester and dorms are nothing like my college experience)

No rugs!! & do what you can to secure cords & wires so no tripping. Good luck.
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If he's happy about the move, you're already light years ahead of me moving my dad last week. He fought and protested all the way, despite acknowledging that he was miserable in my back bedroom.

We had already thinned belongings when he moved from his house to mine, so it was just a matter of packing up his room here and a few things he had in other rooms. For now his winter clothes and old tax papers are in my closet, I will worry about them later.

If you're downsizing from a house he's lived in a long time, it would be good for someone to do a walk-through ahead of the move to identify things that need to go and would be easy to miss. Medicines go at the top of the list. He'll want a favorite unbreakable cup or mug in his room. Tissues, towels, hand soap, toiletries. Batteries for any devices he's taking, including the alarm clock.

Suggestion from a social worker that was the biggest help for us was to have some activity for dad to keep him busy elsewhere during the actual moving process. We were only able to sort-of implement that--he was here while we loaded up his stuff, but I timed the move so we arrived at AL and he was whisked off to his initial visit with their physical therapist. By the time he was done, we had all the furniture in place and most of the rest more or less put away. We rearranged a few things to his preferences, showed him what went into each of the two closets. Pointed out the ice cream in his little freezer! Then the staff came in to introduce themselves, and the director talked to him about his meds and some other key items the doctor had noted on the 1823 form. We departed while that was happening, which I think was easier than if we'd had to just leave him alone.

Whoever is handling the 1823 form, if you have any doubts talk to the doctor who is completing it about what your dad can and can't handle. The AL is required to go by what the doctor marked, as to whether a person can do various things alone, with supervision, or only with assistance. If I were doing it again I would give the doctor a "pencil draft" with MY assessment of his abilities, since she is not the one who sees him day to day trying to dress, make phone calls, etc.
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Bring his favorite chair with table and lamp. He won't be in his room much, they keep the residents pretty busy.
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I've never gone through this experience, so these suggestions aren't based on actual experience, but hopefully they'll help.

You might want to have a box of special items, things he likes to have around him, things that he can choose and pack. Label it with some special marking and have him open it as soon as he moves in. Hopefully it will help orient him and make his new facility have some semblance of what he's just left.

If he has things that remind him of home, the AL facility won't seem as drastically different.

Do you think he'll want to take everything? If so, and if there isn't room, perhaps you could ask/help him to identify what he wants first, indicating that you can pack it and bring it later. That way he's assured that he'll have what he wants but that his other possessions are still available.

Stop and talk periodically during the packing process, if he becomes agitated or obsessive, just reminisce, talk about what he enjoys, places you've gone as a family...soothing things.

Plan to put on CDs (or use an iPod if you have one) of his favorite songs. Again, if he becomes uncomfortable, take a time-out and just listen to music.

Try to make it a bonding session, one in which just a father and a son get together to perform a task, not one in which he's giving up his home.

Perhaps take snack or a lunch break, again just to relax and bond, and reinforce his decision if he begins to waver and become anxious.

Stay with him for quite a while after he moves, and visit the next day so he doesn't suddenly realize the drastic change he's made

Good luck; let us know what works for you!
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