How to Talk to a Loved One About Moving to Memory Care

Tips for how to talk with your loved one about moving to a memory care community

Having a conversation about memory care can be a daunting task for many families. Even with reassurance that a loved one’s quality of life will likely improve, confidence may fade when considering how best to talk about moving to a community.   

Although you might not yet possess this skill set, your compassion and commitment will help your family navigate the process. 

Talking to a Loved One About Moving to Memory Care: 10 Tips 

Before beginning, it’s important to realize that two initial features can significantly alter the outcome: 

  • Timing of the conversation – discussions sooner rather than later after a diagnosis can allow a thoughtful strategy and your loved one to be part of the decision.  
  • Customizing the conversation – all communications, whenever they occur, should be tailored to your loved one and wherever he or she may be in the dementia journey. If already in the later stages, involvement will be much less. 

Consider these 10 tips to help push you past the uncertainty and move forward: 

1. Prepare – don’t procrastinate 

Most families struggle when considering how to talk to their loved one about moving to memory care – but delaying the conversation won’t help. Preparing ahead of time will bolster your confidence to tackle this task. 

Rely on the information you’ve learned about memory support as well as research ideas and suggestions for having a productive conversation.  

2. Choose the best time and place

Consider where and when it would be best to talk. Avoiding late afternoons or evenings is typically advised while mornings are often better for those living with dementia.  

This discussion should be face-to-face and the place should be where your loved one will be most comfortable – often at home. 

3. Keep the first conversation casual

Unless your family is in crisis, it’s best to have multiple conversations about moving to memory care. This is a big decision and it’s much easier if the first discussion focuses more on exploring ideas and points of view.  

You might begin by asking your loved one’s general opinion about having more help, opportunities to participate in activities or discuss the benefits of memory support therapy programs.  

4. Personalize the conversation

You’ll likely come across many excellent suggestions on productive conversations about moving to memory care. However, it’s important to adapt all discussions to your loved one’s specific needs and personality. 

Consider preferences, such as one-on-one or group conversations, whether to include a medical team member, or tour a community early on to see first-hand what home could be like. 

5. Propose a partnership

Your loved one has already had to adjust to so many transitions. It’s understandable that moving to a memory care community might seem frightening or cause uncertainty. 

A common mistake is to present the decision as one that has already been made. Instead, position the topic as a conversation between partners whenever possible. Discuss the pros and cons and offer to return with answers to any questions.  

6. Be a good listener

When facing a difficult conversation, we may barely hear what the other person is saying. We’re distracted by formulating our response – to what we already assume will be dissent. 

Ask your loved one’s opinion on moving to memory care and then listen carefully to the answers. Try not to interrupt and encourage openness and honesty so he or she feels truly heard. 

7. Talk about the benefits

Discuss the many advantages of a memory support community and try to keep the conversation constructive. Look at the positives of a community instead of the negatives of staying at home. 

It often helps to match a specific benefit with a challenge your loved one is facing. If boredom is an issue, you might talk about activities. If lonely, speak to the social opportunities available. 

8. Ask for help

Reach out to your medical team, local Alzheimer’s Association or search credible sources on the internet for how best to talk about moving to memory care. Join a support group and ask others for their advice. 

Talk to your siblings or other family members to ensure everyone is in agreement before speaking with your loved one. If there is dissension, try to address concerns so you can present a united front. 

9. Hit pause if needed

Begin the conversation positively but be prepared for glitches and disagreement. If all goes smoothly – congratulations! But if not, understand that the best plans can be disrupted as emotions rise.  

If you or your loved one becomes upset or frustrated, it’s usually best to take a break. Allow time for everyone to reset and revisit the topic of memory support at a later date. 

10. What if the answer is no?

When first asking your loved one if now might be the time to talk about moving to memory care, prepare for the answer to be no. Plan ahead for how you will respond if you reach an impasse.   

This is a hard decision to make – and accept. Don’t react with anger or blame but empathy and support. Circle back to how engagement may slow the symptoms of dementia. Encourage your loved one to see there is much life to be had after a diagnosis – and how a memory support community can help make that happen. 

At Presbyterian Village North, we support both the individual and the family as they navigate the dementia journey.

We focus on the quality of life for our residents with a staff specially trained in the best practices of dementia care. Residents make their homes in private apartments while benefiting from the daily interactions with others and participating in our exercise, music, art and cognitive therapies.

We also provide the following services:

  • Chef-prepared cuisine—3 meals per day with varied, all-day dining options
  • Security system in all buildings ensures protection and safety
  • Secure entry/exit/windows in our Memory Support neighborhood
  • Secure Outdoor Patio in our Memory Support neighborhood
  • Safety checks every two hours as needed
  • Emergency call system with pendant
  • Escort assistance as needed to and from dining and activities
  • Convenient access to mobile healthcare services onsite including dental, podiatry, optometry, audiology, mobile x-ray and lab, and dietician
  • Full onsite pharmacy
  • 24/7 onsite licensed nurse

Presbyterian Village North is a compassionate resource for your loved one and your family. Please call 214-355-9015 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personal visit to our community.