Settling In – Time to Reflect

Reflecting on Dad’s Move: 

Its been four months since my dad moved into his new apartment, an independent living/extra care development, as described in my recent post.

The settling in period has been filled with anxiety, uncertainty and confusion, which has been upsetting at times, to say the least!

Dementia. . This has been the biggest cause of anxiety as my dad has not fully come to terms with this move and I wonder if he ever will. . .

Dad has good days when he talks about how lucky he feels to have been selected for a new apartment (being 1 of over 800 people who registered their interest and only 57 properties were available) However, there have been bad days when my dad has become confused about where he is, wanting to know when he’s going home.  Sometimes he’ll look around and comment on how nice it is, but then say, “it’s not my home though” even when I point out all his familiar furniture and family pictures, I can see him trying to recognise them in his own way.

I knew it was important to make sure dad’s new place was kept as familiar as possible, setting out the lounge and the bedroom as it was in his previous home.  He had the same bed, wardrobes and accessories in the same position in the bedroom, his lounge was set out as close as possible to what he was used to, with the armchairs and furniture in similar positions, hanging family pictures and placing lamps in similar places to his last home. As much as I have tried to keep dads place familiar with his belongings around him, sometimes it doesn’t seem to be enough.

It’s important for people with dementia to feel safe and secure and I wanted this to be the case with my dad. I want him to be happy here.


Image shared by The Dawn Method thedawnmethod.com 

spend a lot of time worrying about my dad, worrying about this move, worrying about the impact it has had on my dad.

  • Was it the right move?
  • Is dad happy?
  • Does dad understand where he is?

I know deep down that dad is a lot safer here, as he had started to struggle getting up and down the stairs in his previous home and he wasn’t a good candidate for a stairlift (after assessment) due to the dementia, but this is such a big change for a man who had been so independent and had never relied on anyone for anything.

He was the head of our family, he was the one we all went to for advice, he had all the answers, he was always there for us.

Now as a family we have to be there for him

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People with Dementia – Need to feel safe

Dementia – See the ‘Person’ not the ‘Disease’ 

People living with dementia need to feel safe and secure. It’s not all about finding out what they can and can’t remember.

Talk to them about the time they are living in now, and when they get confused about things they can’t remember, assure them of where they are and what is important to them at that time. Help them to recall, don’t force them to remember.

Quote from: The Dawn Method dawnmethod.com 

Dad’s New Home -Moving Day

Time for a new chapter in my Dad’s life – It’s been an emotional week 😥

May 2018 – The end of May soon came around, and if you have read my last post, you will know that my dad is moving into a lovely new apartment (no more stairs) in a new extra-care development a short 5 minute drive away from his current home.

Its been a busy few weeks and I must admit it’s been a really emotional time for me, packing and sorting all of my dad’s home.  This is the last home my dad shared with my lovely mum (who passed away 13yrs ago) and even though my mum and dad had only moved into this house less than 2 years before mum died, it was still packed with so many happy memories of my mum, so you can imagine how difficult it’s been.  How do you pack away a lifetime of memories while trying to stay positive and convince your dad that this is the right move for him? I still wonder if it was.  

I didn’t want to pack things away to early as I knew this would confuse dad, but I also didn’t want to leave everything to the last few days as this may cause dad some upset if he was rushed.  It was hard to understand just how much my dad understood, and I had to tread carefully because of his dementia.

These words are from the following website: thedawnmethod.com

The Dawn Method – Living Happily with Dementia

 

 

I made sure we had plenty of discussions with my dad about the move, I encouraged my dad to read the documents and look at the photos of his new apartment.  Some days he was happy about the move, even counting himself ‘lucky’ that he had been offered the apartment.  However, there were days when he didn’t seem to understand it was his new home, and that he would soon be moving out, this worried me, dad would say he wasn’t sure, he would make his mind up when he saw it, but he he had already viewed the apartment and signed the acceptance form, this was a move that was finalised.

Dad couldn’t remember his initial interest in a new property, it was over 3 years since he first looked into this and so much had happened with his health and his memory loss.  I had kept following it up, keeping updated on the development, unfortunately the build hit long delays and this delay resulted in a long wait from the initial idea of move around late 2016/17 which would have been the best time for my dad, as he was still very much aware of what was planned.  When the actual date for moving was revealed for 2018 dad’s health deteriated and the memory loss increased.  

The good news is that when I took my dad to look around the new development he was very positive about the layout,  it looked very modern but had retained a lot of the old fixtures which had been renovated to a very high standard, there was plenty of history retained within the building.

June 2018 – A few days before the move, the removal company dropped off packing boxes and I soon got to work on packing the little things, like ornaments, pictures, photos, clothes and emptying the wardrobes of a lot of clothes dad hadn’t really wore in a few years (due to weight loss) I left all his everyday clothes and personal items to the last, this kept things familiar, I didn’t want dad to feel as if he had nothing familiar around him.  Dad soon started to help me a little with packing, he couldn’t do too much as he was quite frail and I didnt want to over burden him.  It was hard to know how much to expect him to do without trying to exclude him from packing his own things.

I had discussed the idea of downsizing and looking at what furniture would fit comfortable in the apartment (it was hard to move a two bedroom, two floor large house contents into a one bedroom one floor small apartment and try and keep it as familiar as possible so as not to confuse dad.

Moving Dad 6th June 2018

what an emotional day for me, I was trying not to think of this being the last day my dad would be in his home, I just tried to stay positive as I knew this was the best option for my dad.  The good thing was, we were not letting the house go, we hadn’t sold it, and even though I knew the idea of dad returning to his house wasn’t an option, it was still his and we discussed the idea of keeping it in the family.  My Son was going to move in short-term with his family and look after the house, dad liked this idea.l

Everything was ready for the move, boxes were packed and labelled for each room in the apartment, furniture labelled and ready to be moved.  The new apartment had been prepared for dad, with the new carpets and blinds I had helped him to select. It was going to be a busy day!

The removal vans arrived – It was all systems go – Time to move on dad 😘

I will share more pictures and some history of the new development, known as:

The Watchfactory