While most people want to live in their own homes for as long as possible, some will make the decision to move after they receive a diagnosis of dementia. They might move cities to be closer to family; move into town to be closer to services; move into a retirement village; or move in to live with a son or a daughter.
Moving house, going on holidays and adjusting to unfamiliar environments becomes more challenging as cognitive abilities decline. For some, the benefits of staying with the familiar outweigh the benefits of being closer to loved ones in an unfamiliar environment.
Taking a pro-active approach to moving house can minimise stress and lead to a more positive experience.
Any allied health professional working with a person living with dementia can:
- start the conversation and explore options about moving house. It may be better received if the allied health professional has a good long-term relationship with the person.
- advise the best way to present information taking into account preserved communication skills
- assess the need for and provide augmentative strategies such as use of pictures to help the person remain included in the decision-making process.
- assess the new environment and make recommendations based on routines and activities that are important to the person living with dementia and their family.
Counsellors, social workers and psychologists:
- can provide counselling and emotional support.
The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government funded initiative.