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Starting the Conversation for Memory Care

Moving to a dedicated Memory Care neighborhood provides a secure, stimulating environment for residents at all stages of cognitive decline. However, initiating the conversation with a loved one who might need support for their memory loss isn't always easy. It takes compassion and effective communication skills to discuss the situation and come to a satisfactory conclusion. The following tips can make planning to have the conversation easier. 

Make Sure It's the Right Time

Starting the conversation about Memory Care often happens after you notice signs of cognitive impairment. Perhaps your loved one has started forgetting routine tasks, missing bills or leaving items in unusual spots. In some cases, your loved one might also mention their memory concerns to you. Having a conversation early lets you get the necessary care before memory issues progress. 

It's also helpful to consider the timing of the conversation. Choose a time when your loved one is more likely to be receptive to the topic. For instance, if they're more cheerful and positive in the morning, this might be an ideal time to talk to them. Find a quiet, comfortable, relaxing location for the chat to put your loved one at ease.

Prepare for the Conversation

Approaching the topic with a plan will help you say what you want and make your point. Preparing will also help you get into the right frame of mind so you can be calming and reassuring. 

Part of the preparation is deciding who should be involved in the conversation. Consider your loved one's personality and their unique situation to help you decide. Perhaps they have a close relationship with their children or a sibling. They might feel more comfortable with those people in the room. If the person feels embarrassed about their memory loss, they might prefer to keep the conversation small. 

Brief everyone who will be involved on what you want to say. It's also helpful to be positive and consistent with your tone and messaging. For instance, you might encourage everyone to focus on the benefits of Memory Care and emphasize your desire for your loved one to live in the safest environment possible. 

Topics you might consider raising include:

  • Symptoms you've noticed
  • Questions about how your loved one has been feeling
  • Concerns for their safety
  • Safer living options
  • Benefits of Memory Care
  • Suggestions for resources or experts who can help

Tailoring the conversation to your loved one will make it more effective. Anticipate their concerns and reactions to help you approach the subject in a way that prevents a negative response. 

Approach the Conversation With an Open Mind

You likely already have an ideal plan in mind for your loved one. If you feel that Memory Care is the best option for them, your goal for the conversation is to convince them to make the move. It's also important to have an open mind when you talk to them about their options. You might discover that they would prefer a different location than you suggested. For instance, you might believe your loved one wants to stay close to home or in their own community. However, they might prefer to move to a Memory Care community that's closer to you or another loved one. 

Be a Good and Active Listener

Going into the conversation with facts and clear points will help you communicate well. However, it's also important to be an active listener instead of standing your ground and only responding from your point of view. Enter the conversation from a place of empathy and with a willingness to hear how the other person feels. 

One simple way to do this is to let the person complete their thoughts without interrupting them. Pause your thoughts while they speak so you can truly hear what they're saying. It's common to start thinking about your arguments or what you'll say next while the other person is speaking, but that can cause you to miss out on what they're saying. 

Ask clarifying questions when necessary to make sure you understand what the other conversation participants mean. You can also rephrase what they say to ensure you heard it correctly.

Saying things from your perspective by using I statements can keep the conversation productive. For example, you might say, "I have concerns about how safe you are at home without anyone to support you." This puts the feelings on you and might prevent your loved one from becoming defensive like they would if you simply said, "You're not safe at home anymore." 

Ask for Help From Local Resources

Making decisions about the appropriate care for a loved one might not be something you feel comfortable doing on your own. Expert advice from local resources can help you navigate the situation and decide on an appropriate course of action. 

If your loved one hasn't received a dementia diagnosis yet, scheduling an appointment with a medical provider right away can be an effective starting point. They can do an exam and run tests to determine if dementia is the cause of your loved one's behavior changes. Dementia experts can provide information about local resources, programs and Memory Care neighborhoods that can provide support and care. 

It might also help to visit a local community like Wichita Presbyterian Manor. Your loved one can see the amenities and residences for themselves, which could help put them at ease. The care team at Wichita Presbyterian Manor can also provide more information and explain the programming that's available within the community. 

Stop the Conversation and Return Later If Needed

Conversations about Memory Care are often best when they're casual and low tension. That's not always easy to maintain, though. Moving to a Memory Care community is an emotional topic. It can leave your loved one feeling like they're losing their freedom. It's a major life change that can cause high emotions.

Knowing when to table the conversation can help keep the lines of communication open. It can also help maintain positive relationships within your family. Sometimes, your loved one needs time to accept the idea of moving into Memory Care. They might need to do more research, or they simply might need time to work through their emotions. 

Find the Care You Need

At Wichita Presbyterian Manor, we’re here for you and your family whenever you need to start the conversation. Contact us today or call us at 316-942-7456 to learn more about Memory Care options.

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