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A Day in the Life of a Memory Care Neighborhood: What to Expect on Day One

By: Commonwealth Senior Living / 27 Oct 2023
A Day in the Life of a Memory Care Neighborhood: What to Expect on Day One

Making the decision to transition a loved one with memory loss to a senior living community can bring both relief and anxiety. Questions may arise like "What should I bring?" "Who will be there to welcome us?" "Will my father be unhappy?" "Will my wife long to go back home with me?" At Commonwealth Senior Living, we strive to make the first day in our Sweet Memories Memory neighborhood as seamless as possible. We provide answers well in advance through our Sweet Beginnings Family Orientation, but we are here to shed light on the first 24 hours in a Memory Care neighborhood to ease any of your concerns.

First, keep in mind this experience will evoke emotions. Just like moving to a new home, even if you felt happy and excited, you might have also felt a sense of attachment to the place you left behind and the memories you created there. The first 24 hours of a transition to a Memory Care neighborhood may bring similar feelings. However, there is also room for joy in this experience. Your loved one has found a place where they can connect with people who share common interests and face similar challenges. This can provide a sense of reassurance for someone living with memory loss.

On the first day, you can expect to receive a wealth of new information, some of which may be unfamiliar or forgotten. It is highly recommended to come prepared with any lingering questions you may have. Consider taking notes or even recording the information provided to you, as it can be more challenging to retain new information on a day filled with emotional challenges.

Choosing the right Memory care checklist:

Before your loved one arrives at the community, consider contacting the resident programs department to create a personalized plan for their first day. Engaging in enjoyable activities with new friends and neighbors may help them feel more at ease, rather than being directly involved in the physical process of moving their belongings.

Similar to any moving day, there will be items to organize and arrange. You may also inquire about enjoying a meal with your loved one while you are moving into the community. It's amazing how quickly a meal can get missed when you are busy!

During your loved ones first day, expect visits from individuals representing different departments. They will ask questions about their preferences, favorite foods, and whether you have brought any medications or items that need to be secured. These routine assessments aim to ensure your loved one feels comfortable, safe, and at home.

Allocate some time to relax and spend quality moments with your loved one once all the hard work is completed. Simply cherish each others company. Take a leisurely stroll and unwind in the serene outdoor courtyard or explore the neighborhood to become acquainted with the surroundings. Seniors living with memory loss often rely on their surroundings for cues. By maintaining a positive and supportive attitude, you can have a significant impact on their own sense of calmness and positivity.

If youre short on time for your visit, thats alright! Ask associates if they are available to engage with your loved one while you plan to leave the community. Its often best to avoid making a big fuss about your departure, as this can cause more distress for someone with memory loss. Instead, a simple hug and a walk to an activity or meal, or to the nearest associate who can assist them can provide a low-key distraction while you leave for the day. Once youre gone, let the community take over. Make sure to plan something nice for yourself, as its likely been a long day.

Dont be surprised if your loved one has an emotional first day. Rest assured, our associates are skilled at providing the necessary support and guidance to help them adjust and feel cared for during this difficult transition. They may reach out to you, especially if they still have a cell phone, expressing feelings of upset, anger, frustration, or sadness. It is important to remember these emotions are a natural part of the process, even though they may be painful. With time, these emotions will gradually subside. Any guilt or anger directed towards you is not a reflection of you personally. Rather, it is a response to the unfamiliarity of their new situation.

Despite all the possibilities mentioned, it is also likely your loved one will experience immediate happiness and contentment. They may love the new view from their windows, eagerly look forward to meeting new people, and engage in activities every day, all without the burden of home maintenance, meal planning, and other daily responsibilities.

As time passes, stay involved in your loved ones care. Visit regularly, participate in activities together, and communicate with associates about any concerns or suggestions you may have. Our goal is to create a warm and welcoming community for all our residents. Your involvement will not only benefit your loved one but also contribute to our collective efforts toward providing exceptional care.

If you are considering a move to a Commonwealth Senior Living Sweet Memories neighborhood for someone you love, please ask us about the Sweet Beginnings Family Orientation and Handbook. This will answer many of the questions you may have and help you get started on the right foot from the very first day.

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By Paula Harder
Vice President of Resident Programs

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