As your parents get older, it is likely that they will need to receive long-term care at some point. In fact, this will be true for 70% of Americans turning 65 years old. Nursing homes are a good option, but for individuals living with dementia, memory care centers are their best bet to live a comfortable life. Whether your loved one is in need of a specialized care facility or just a regular nursing home, there are few things you can do to make them feel more comfortable.

  1. Decorate Together
    Moving from one’s home to an unfamiliar care facility can be intimidating. Mitigate this by bringing all of the photos and mementos your loved one is accustomed to to their new home.
  2. Visit Often
    This is a given, but tell your parent when you will visit on specific days and keep to that promise. It helps to see a familiar face on a regular schedule.
  3. Bring Food
    The food at memory care centers can actually be quite good, but everyone has their favorite treat that they occasionally crave. Know what your loved one likes to eat, and bring some for them to enjoy.
  4. Talk on the Phone
    When you’re too busy to make a visit, call as often as you can. This helps ward off the potential trappings of loneliness for both you and your loved one.
  5. Go Out
    Was there a place your parent used to go to relax and have fun? Whether that’s the beach, a bar, the movies, or a different country, bring them to the places they love whenever you can.
  6. Keep up on Hobbies
    Maybe you and your parent used to work on cars, go blueberry picking in the summer, or even write stories together. Whatever hobby you shared, don’t stop doing it.
  7. Listen
    In the midst of this emotional transition, listen to what your loved one has to say. You will likely find they have fears and anxieties, but perhaps also solutions that you can help enact. Listening is always important, especially now.

Having a parent that needs assisted living services can be rough for everyone involved. With a little work, and a lot of time together, however, you can make it much less difficult than you ever would have thought. Remember to listen and put in an effort to make this transitory time easier, and it will be.