Understanding transfer trauma

Help for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families

Moving to a new place is usually filled with a mix of excitement, apprehension and stress. But for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, a transition to a new community can trigger a huge range of reactions.

WayForth is a certified senior move management company here to make your transition stress and hassle-free. Our moving professionals handle everything from downsizing, packing and unpacking, to storage. Contact us today for help on this next transition!

What is transfer trauma?

While transfer trauma may be a new phrase to you, social workers and senior living professionals use the term to talk about the emotional symptoms that may appear when someone is moved from one environment to another.

Those facing Alzheimer’s or dementia who are in the early stages of the disease may encounter this type of trauma especially if they are leaving a familiar home and moving to a new community. Symptoms may be mild or severe and can include sadness, anger, anxiety and depression. There can be more confusion than normal, sleeplessness, poor appetite and even nausea. Family and friends may see the transfer trauma last for a few days or several weeks.

For more information on how to help a family member with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, read our blog here.

How to plan the move

Deciding to move a person with Alzheimer’s is a big decision. You can help mitigate transfer trauma by working with the person’s family members, caregivers and healthcare team. Finding the right community for the person and making sure they have the appropriate level of care should also be considered.

If you are assisting with the move of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, having a plan is key. You should try to involve the person who is being moved as much as possible. Keep the process slow and let them visit the new community they will be joining. Prior to the move, you might even arrange a meal in the dining area or attend an activity to give them the opportunity to get a sense of the new place. All of this can help lessen the potential trauma.

Using a professional move management company that specializes in senior moving services can also help. The team at WayForth understands the emotional and physical challenges of a move like this and can help with a number of services such as downsizing, packing and unpacking, and space planning to lessen the stress on the person moving as well as their family.

You may also encounter some resistance to the move from the person living with Alzheimer’s. Staying the course and knowing that you and other family members have made the right decision can help see you through some difficult days. The person may ask to come home or wonder why you’ve moved them. This stress is usually temporary and can dissipate as the person starts to make friends and feel more at home in their new environment.

It’s understandable that you may personally feel some guilt or stress during this time due to moving your loved one who may not be happy with the decision. This is normal and you should make sure you have some support while managing this transition.

Making a loved one feel comfortable

Once you’ve chosen the right community for the person with Alzheimer’s, family, friends and caregivers can help them feel comfortable after the move. Encouraging them to do familiar chores such as making coffee or watching a movie in their new space can help them feel at home.

You can also keep a line of communication open with the community staff and daily caregivers to make sure your loved one is adapting at an appropriate pace. Joining an Alzheimer’s support group where you can talk with other families who are experiencing similar things that you are going through can help.

WayForth can help you or a family member with our comprehensive moving solutions including downsizing, packing and set-up in a new home, contact our moving professionals today at 1.844.WAYFORTH.



About the Author: WayForth

WayForth is the definitive provider of comprehensive and personalized moving solutions for life and business. Since 2016, WayForth has led the way in move management, providing solutions to over 15,000 individuals and families. How you move matters and no matter the destination, WayForth serves as a guide making life’s transitions easier to navigate. Call 1.844.WAYFORTH today to learn how we can help with your next move!
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