If you’re moving home with someone suffering from dementia, you’ll need to be extra vigilant in the decisions you make. Here’s our advice on what to remember and what to look out for.
Moving home isn’t easy at the best of times and for a dementia sufferer, this could prove both challenging and stressful.
Great care and attention must be given to all stages of your moving journey; after all, you’re not only moving home but removing someone from the comfort of what they know.
From planning to packing, and then helping the sufferer adjust to their new surroundings, all these stages need to be carefully considered.
But while this whole process can seem very daunting from the outset, we’re here to help with our knowledge and expertise.
Your success in moving your home and your loved one begins with meticulous planning, so this initial stage in the process shouldn’t be rushed.
You’ll need to sit down and work out every detail with a fine-toothed comb. Your main focus will be how the process will affect the person you’re caring for so remember to take your time and resist making hasty decisions.
But moving is not only about them – it’s also about you. Planning the move at a comfortable pace will decrease your own anxiety and give you time to make educated and informed decisions. If it’s possible, try talking to the person with dementia and clearly explain the future living arrangements and the process that lies ahead.
Also, try to involve them in the decision-making process. Let them choose some of the décor for the new property, or what flowers they’d like to see in the garden. This sense of involvement will make them feel their opinion is valued and they aren’t being ignored.
If the sufferer is struggling to understand why they’re moving, it might be a good idea for relatives and friends to help you by explaining the situation. Sometimes a warm, friendly face reinforcing the idea can help.
And while on the subject of family and friends, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. Maybe they’ve moved home recently themselves and can offer some important tips on how to make the transition go more smoothly? Or perhaps you’ve overlooked something which they’re able to point out. With so many things to think about yourself, forgetting details is normal and missing something obvious is so easy to do.
You need to think about how living in a new property or location will affect the daily routine for your dementia sufferer. How will the layout of your new home affect how you do an everyday task like making breakfast, or doing something simple such as getting them into bed? It’s also important to note where the closest doctors are located and what to do if your loved one requires medical attention. All of these factors can easily be overlooked in the stress of moving, but they will have an impact on your daily life.
If it’s possible, introduce yourself to the new neighbours and let them know about your situation. This is important because they’ll be aware if your dementia sufferer unexpectedly leaves home and wanders around the neighbourhood, possibly in a confused state of mind. Keeping them informed could arguably save your loved one’s life.
You could take your loved one in advance to the new property or at least the area. This will allow them to familiarise themselves with landmarks and roads. Maybe stop off for a coffee and a delicious lunch close by, because in that way, they can associate their new home with enjoyment.
If you’re hiring a removal company to pack and (or) move, it’s wise to let them know a dementia sufferer is going to be moving too. The company will relay this information to their team to ensure they’re tactful and pay special attention to this person. The more info they know, the more they know what to expect.
It’s common practice in the Bristol removals industry to create a furniture floorplan for the new property, including room numbers and this is especially important if you’re moving a dementia sufferer. A floorplan means you’ll know exactly where each item of furniture will go and this helps minimise disruption in the first days and weeks after you move in. It’s a good idea to create a similar setup to your previous home in at least one room so the dementia sufferer can begin to settle in and adjust with familiar surroundings.
Like with any move, packing shouldn’t be left to the last minute and this is even more important when moving a person with dementia. Any sudden change of environment will no doubt lead to anxiety and stress on their part. You should begin the process at least a few weeks ahead of the move and start with belongings that are out of sight, such as items on cupboards and non-essentials. By doing this, you can make a head start without causing disruption and minimise their stress levels.
When it comes packing the remaining items such as pictures on walls, TVs and dismantling furniture, do this during the last few days before the actual moving day. You’ll see that moving these items may cause a sharp increase of anxiety for them, but it’s better to hold out to the last possible moment – reducing this window of disruption to their daily routine is key.
It would be great if friends, family or neighbours can help you pack so you can focus your energy on helping the dementia sufferer stay calm. Maybe have their favourite music on in the background or give them objects with emotional attachment?
Better yet, hire a removal company to do the packing for you. Professional moving companies will have the know-how and resources to pack everything in your home within a day and, as mentioned before, this help will give you the time and energy to look after the dementia sufferer. Don’t forget to give them the floorplan!
If you choose to self-pack, remember to label each box and put sticky notes on each item of furniture with rooms numbers that correlate to the floorplan of the new property. This ensures everything will go into the correct rooms.
This day will be the most stressful of all and so consider invoking relatives or friends’ help to take your loved one out for the day so you can oversee the move. If this isn’t possible and the dementia suffered has to be present, you can reduce stress by starting the day with their usual routine, including making their favourite breakfast. Also, try to keep them entertained by playing a familiar movie, TV show, or music they enjoy.
When arriving at your new home, maybe focus on decorating a room in the property with familiar items with their favourite chair, ornaments and other belongings that make them feel at ease. As mentioned before, play some films or music to help them adjust.
If you’re hiring a removal firm, they’ll take care of the move, leaving you to focus on your loved one. In many cases, the removal company can work from the floorplan and this allows you and your loved one to spend the day entirely in another location until the move is complete. The removal team leader may video call you a few times to confirm details but they’ll have your new home ready and waiting for you by the end of the day.
Disclaimer – This blog should only be viewed as a guide. We cannot be held responsible for any injuries, loss of earnings, or death as a result of following this guide.