Laura B (majortom_thecat) wrote in caregiving,
Laura B

Moving with Dementia

Hello everyone!

It looks like my Grandma, my partner and I are going to have to move house.  The advice I've gotten says that to move a person who has dementia, you need to do it early when they can still own the decision, or late when they don't know where they are.  I'm not exactly sure where to put my Grandma on this scale.  Sometimes she knows that we are in her house, sometimes she doesn't.  Sometimes she knows that she's lived here for years, sometimes she asks me where the bathroom is.  She has actually lived here for decades and raised her children here, but she doesn't remember raising children and sometimes doesn't believe that she has any.

I've had lots of conversations with Grandma about moving.  The conversation is starting to become familiar to her.  She's fine with the idea most of the time.  Her only objection has been that we shouldn't take the furniture with us in case anybody else wants to use it.  But the more I talk about the move, the more uncomfortable she gets.  Similar to when I have to give her pills or a bath - the less talking, the more smoothly it goes.

For my Grandma, home is increasingly where the chair is.  After she takes her pills in the kitchen she always says "I'll just go back to my home now" and then she goes to the living room and sits in her chair.  So I'm hoping that the presence of her chair and other familiar objects will help to make the new home "home."

I'm aware that many people who have dementia ask to go home a lot even if they are at home.  She has started to do this a little bit and she  means her childhood home.

She usually doesn't like the idea of changes (changing clothes for example).  Her memory is so short that the blouse she's wearing is the only one she's ever worn, it's comfortable and perfectly fine and she doesn't know what the next blouse is going to feel like or how it's going to fit (even if she's had it for years) so she's very reluctant to change.   I can convince her to change her clothes and feel good about it, but convincing her to change homes and feel good about it is probably going to take a lot more work.  I suspect that after a couple weeks at the new place she will think that she's never lived anywhere else except for when the occasional memories flash into her head.

So, caregivers, any recommendations or advice?  I'm thinking that maybe I should focus on helping her feel good about the move and feel like it was her decision after the fact more than before, until she forgets that it happened.  What other preparations should I make?

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