Alzheimer's Care, Blog, Elder Law Articles

I moved my father with Alzheimer’s from out of state to be near me. Any suggestions on how to help him adjust to a new area?

First of all, give it time. Your father might need a week, or months, to adjust. He’ll also need to be able to let out any concerns and other feelings. His concerns need to be answered and his feelings validated. Grief likely will be among the feelings. After losing his job, his wife and now his long-time home, he is losing a part of himself each day, too. You’ll find out — if you haven’t already — that many times it’s a dead-end street when you try to reason with someone with Alzheimer’s. Your father could become more confused and unsettled if you try to explain in detail why you had to move him. When he asks about the situation, you can tell him, “I know how hard this move has been for you, but I love you so much, I wanted to be nearby and have you close to me.” Here are some other things you can do to help him adjust:

  • Make a photo album of things that bring up good memories so he can review it over and over. Include pictures of family members, friends, the house, and favorite vacations and accomplishments. He can look to his heart’s content, several times a day, if he wants. When he’s feeling stressed or said, this should have a calming effect on him.
  • Make sure there are personal items he can recognize in his room.
  • Ensure that he knows his friends and neighborhood. Make introductions as necessary.
  • Let him write a journal, in which he can record his feelings at least once a day. (This could require extra help from you, the caregiver.)
  • Find a local support group near your house that he can attend. Call the Alzheimer’s Association for recommendations.
  • Have him talk with various people (not just you). Whether it’s a professional counselor, a priest, a friend or someone else, it will help immensely.
Remember: Your father will need a lot of time and attention. Give them. Constantly reassure him and affirm his presence. Repeat that he is in a safe place, that you love him and that you will continue to make good, healthy decisions for him, based on his wants and needs. Tell him often how well he is doing. Thank him profusely for whatever he helps with. Include him in as much decision-making as possible and ask him for input at a level he can handle. If you do all of this, things still might be difficult, but you will be doing the best that you both can. And who knows, he might surprise everyone and adjust with little difficult.  An excellent resource is “The Indispensable Alzheimer’s Resource Kit.” It can be downloaded at no cost by clicking here.