Making the Transition to a New Environment
Changes in the environment may cause or increase confusion, disorientation, fear, etc, and thus affect the person with dementia’s behavior. The purpose of this tip sheet is to provide ideas to caregivers that may make a transition to a new environment easier.
New environments can be moving to a long-term care facility, being in day care facilities, visiting family, friends or neighbors; or even changing or moving things around the house.
- Allow time for adjustment to unfamiliar setting.
- When visiting a facility, take the person with you. This can also serve as a gauge for whether or not they will like the facility.
- Avoid changing the care recipient’s routine schedule as much as possible as these changes may disrupt behaviors. This includes meal timers, medications schedule, routine activities, etc.
- Consider bringing a familiar object (blanket, stuffed animal).
- Have a buddy assigned that the person with dementia will feel secure with.
- Plan on staying for the first couple hours the first day.
- Get the person with dementia involved! Give them tasks. This may include: asking them for their opinion and preferences, engaging them in simple activities.
If the person with dementia is having anxiety with their new surrounding, perhaps you can have a written note that can be read saying “I’ve gone to the store and will be back at 4:00”, or perhaps you can record a message that says something similar that can give reassurance.
This material was adapted with the help of the AlzOnline “Tips for the Holiday” tip-sheet and input from Share the Care, Inc. of Orlando, FL.