How to Make Moving an Aging Parent with Dementia Easier

August 6, 2023by Christopher Merry

Dementia and Moving: Tips for an Easier Move

Moving someone with dementia to a new home can be a challenging process for both a parent with dementia and their caregivers. It is important to approach the move with sensitivity and to plan ahead to minimize stress and discomfort.

Here are five tips that will help make the process of moving an aging parent with dementia to a new home easier:

  1. Establish a Plan
  2. Simplify the Move
  3. Communication is Key
  4. Make the New Space Familiar
  5. Seek Support


Dementia and Moving: Tips for an Easier Move


Establish a Plan

Before making any physical arrangements, it’s important to have a plan. Meet with your aging parent’s doctor and other care providers to discuss the move and what steps should be taken. Work with professionals who specialize in senior moves and dementia care, such as a care manager, social worker, or geriatric expert. This will ensure that the move is handled with sensitivity and compassion.


Simplify the Move

The more you can do to simplify the moving process, the better. Consider downsizing your loved one’s belongings and having a professional pack and unpack their belongings. This can eliminate some of the stress that comes with the move, and it can also make the transition to the new living arrangements a little easier.


Communication is Key

Throughout the process of moving, it’s important to communicate with your aging parent as much as possible. Talk to them about the move and answer any questions they have. Keep them updated on the progress of the move and what they can expect in their new living space.

Involve your parent in the decision-making process and communicate with them throughout the move.


Initiate Conversations About Moving

When it comes to moving an aging parent with dementia, it’s important to remember the value of open discussions and gentle approaches. Starting a conversation with your parent and other family members about the possibility of moving can be a difficult and emotional time, but it’s crucial for making sure everyone’s concerns are addressed properly.

Begin by explaining the reasons why moving may be necessary and emphasize the importance of ensuring that your parent’s care needs are being met to the best of your ability. Take a gentle approach, being attentive to your parent’s emotional state and concerns. Remember that this is a difficult decision for everyone involved, and it’s important to include your parent and other family members in the decision-making process.

Family meetings can be a great way to have open discussions with everyone involved in the decision-making process. During these meetings, you can address any concerns or questions that arise, and work together to make informed decisions that are in your parent’s best interest.

By initiating open discussions about moving with a gentle approach and addressing everyone’s concerns, you can help make the transition period smoother for both your parent and your family.


Make the New Space Familiar

One of the best ways to make the move easier is to make their new space feel familiar and comfortable. Bring items from their old home that they’re attached to, such as family photos or favorite pieces of furniture. Consider creating a memory book or box with familiar items to help your parent feel more at ease during the transition. Decorate the new space with familiar colors and patterns. Set up their new room in a similar way to their old room.

Consider the layout and safety features of the new living space your parent will occupy.

Bring familiar items like photo albums and favorite music to create a sense of home.


Pack for Your Family Member

Moving a family member with dementia can be a challenging experience. It’s important to make the transition as smooth as possible by packing essential items that will make them feel comfortable and at home in their new living space. Here are some tips on what to pack:

1. Personal Items: Pack items that have emotional meaning and value to your family member, such as their favorite clothes, blankets, or pillows. These items will help them feel secure and comforted in a new environment.

2. Favorite Music: Music has a powerful effect on the mind and emotions, and can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Pack your family member’s favorite music to play in their new living space.

3. Photo Albums: Having photo albums nearby will help your family member feel connected to their memories and loved ones. Surrounding their living space with familiar pictures will bring warmth and comfort.

4. Familiarity: Pack any familiar items that your family member has been using in their previous living space. It may be a piece of furniture, special mug, or a painting.

By packing these essential items, your family member with dementia will feel more comfortable in their new living space, making the move less stressful for both of you. It’s important to pack when your family member is occupied or not present to minimize any stress a sudden change can cause.


Include copies of family photographs: Displaying family photographs in your parent’s living space will help them feel more connected to their loved ones. You can create a photo album or frame pictures on the walls. Additionally, consider adding captions or descriptions to the photos to help trigger memories.

Create activity boxes: Identify your parent’s interests, hobbies, and favorite activities and create activity boxes with appropriate materials. For instance, if your parent enjoys painting, you could create a painting box with canvases, paint, and brushes.

Decorate the door to their room: Personalize the door to your parent’s room by adding their name, favorite quotes, or items that are important to them. This can help make their room feel more like home.


Seek Support

Caring for an aging parent with dementia can be challenging, so it’s important to seek support. Reach out to family members, friends, or support groups for advice and emotional support. You may also consider hiring a caregiver to provide extra support during the transition.


Seek Support



Examine the Facility’s Method for Addressing Memory Care

Researching the facility’s approach to memory care is crucial when choosing a care center for a parent with dementia. Look for a facility specializing in memory care and makes it a top priority. A memory care unit with skilled professionals trained in caring for people with dementia should be chosen. Look for communities that can provide a level of care that meets your parent’s current needs, while allowing them to age comfortably in place as their specific disease progresses.

Ensure that the facility provides an individualized care plan that takes into account your loved one’s unique needs. The personalized care plan should cater to their specific physical, emotional, and cognitive requirements. The care facility should also prioritize promoting independence and self-esteem, ensuring that your loved one can feel valued and maintain a sense of dignity. Conducting thorough research before making the decision to move your parent with dementia will ultimately provide peace of mind, knowing you have chosen a facility that will adequately care for them.


Personalize Your Parent’s Living Space

Moving a parent with dementia to an assisted living facility or memory care community can be challenging. However, personalizing their living space can make the transition smoother and easier for both you and your loved one. Here are some tips to help you personalize your parent’s living space:

Label their belongings: Labeling your parent’s belongings can make it easier for them to recognize their possessions and reduce confusion. You can use color-coded stickers or tags to identify their clothes, shoes, or personal care items.


Consider Scheduling the Move for the Most Convenient Time of Day for the Individual

For dementia patients, late mornings and early afternoons are typically the most optimal time of day, while early mornings and evenings may present more challenges.

Moving to a new home can be less stressful if it occurs when your parent is calm, giving more time to settle in before fatigue or agitation sets in.


It Is Advisable to Use a Basic Family Script

Moving an aging parent with dementia can be a challenging and emotional experience for both the parent and family members involved. Developing a simple family script can help provide consistent and comforting responses throughout the moving process. This script should use the same verbiage across all family members to avoid confusing or overwhelming the parent.

Start by discussing key phrases that can be used throughout the process such as “you’re going to your new home” or “this is a place where you’ll be safe”. Keep it simple and avoid using complex or confusing language. It may also be helpful to practice delivering these phrases in a calm and reassuring tone.

Consistency is key with this family script. Using the same phrases across all family members can help create a sense of familiarity and comfort for the parent as they adjust to their new living environment.

Overall, developing a simple family script can be an effective tool for communicating with a senior loved one throughout the moving process. Consistent and comforting responses can help ease anxiety and provide a sense of security during this emotional time.


Our Assessment Can Provide Valuable Assistance.

Our care assessment tool guide you through the process of moving your aging parent with dementia. Our tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on the unique situation of your parent and can help you identify their level of care required over time.

To ensure that your parent’s care needs are met, it’s important to explore the availability of services such as in-home care or adult day services. In-home care can provide your parent with personalized care in the comfort of their own home, while adult day services offer social activities and cognitive stimulation.

Determining the type of medical care that will be needed by your parent is crucial as changes in their medical or cognitive condition are certain. Our care assessment tool can point you in the right direction by providing resources for relevant health care providers and suggesting alternative living arrangements such as a memory care facility or an assisted living community.

The decision to move an aging parent with dementia can be challenging, but with the help of our care assessment tool, you can make an informed decision and ensure a smooth transition for your loved one.

If you or someone you love needs assistance moving, Master Movers senior moving specialists can help. Get a free estimate.

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