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Moving a Person Living with Dementia

Elderwerks on Dementia MapSubmitted by Jennifer Prell
President & Founder
Elderwerks Educational Services

Moving and change can be overwhelming. It is especially true for a person living with dementia. Change and disruption of a normal routine can cause confusion, irritability, health issues, and behavioral changes.

Tips for Helping Move a Person Living with Dementia

1 Though your loved one is impaired, you still want to include them in the process.

2 Start early in the day and limit the amount of time your loved one spends sorting. They may tire easily, and it can become too stressful for them.

3 If your loved one is easily stressed, it might be best to have them go out for breakfast or lunch while the home is sorted and packed.

4 While sorting their personal items ask them for input. Such as. “Which shirt do you like better?” If they want to do things on their own, base their tasks on their abilities such as sorting books or boxing up their clothing. It doesn’t matter if it’s done perfectly.

5 Don’t get angry if they move slower than you, make decisions that you don’t agree with, or are unable to make decisions. Just breathe.

6 The items that need to be packed are the items they “squirrel with”. These are the items near their favorite chair and anything in their vision while sitting there on a regular basis. The bedroom items and bathroom items should also be moved.

7 Don’t move anything sharp, poisonous, valuable, or unnecessary.

8 Remember, when moving a person into a memory care community, the items they move in with may not necessarily be theirs at the end of the day. Things tend to move around the building and into other people’s apartments.

9 Hire a mover that has training assisting a person living with dementia, or that understands and can support your loved one. The mover can make the move a smooth one or it can turn ugly quickly if they don’t know how to react to issues that arise.

10 Know what furniture is being moved and use a floor plan for the destination apartment. This will make setting up the apartment go much smoothly.

11 Think about hiring a Senior & Specialty Move Manager (SMM). A SMM assists with the downsizing and moving process. You can work alongside your loved one reminiscing and going through photographs and memorabilia while the SMM packs the rest of the belongings, manages the mover, and sets up the new home. You can find many wonderful SMMs at

Organization is Key

Putting all tasks in writing will help keep you organized and help reduce stress. Put together an action plan from the tasks list. If you need help, talk to the move-in coordinator in the community your loved one is moving into for some guidance or the SMM.

Once your loved one has moved into their new apartment, you can start emptying their house through an estate sale, donate to a charitable cause, and hire a waste hauler for the rest of the items that aren’t salvageable. Make sure to keep all receipts for tax purposes.

Take Action Now

If you have recently been diagnosed with dementia, you will want to get your affairs in order as soon as possible. This includes all legal documents including Power of Attorney for Property and Health, Advance Directives (Living Will), Will, and Trust. Protecting yourself and your assets for future needs is paramount.

Discuss your future with your family so they know what you want in advance and can help you through the aging process and provide support as needed.

Elderwerks on Dementia MapSubmitted by Jennifer Prell
Elderwerks Educational Services

Member bio if provided… Beth Rush is a Founder and the Managing Editor at Body+Mind and a lover of all things health and wellness.

In her spare time, Beth enjoys cooking healthy recipes and trying out new fitness trends.

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