Handling Resistance from Loved Ones While Moving into Memory Care

There are few things tougher than coming to terms with transitioning your loved one to a memory care facility, but you’re not alone. Memory care is a 24-hour, long-term residential care solution for older adults who are suffering from progressive memory loss diseases, like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

When your loved one’s memory declines to the point that providing care from them becomes too much, memory care facilities provide a safe alternative. These facilities are designed with your loved one and their needs in mind in an effort to improve their quality of life, reduce confusion, and prevent wandering.

When you’ve had the memory care conversation with your family, consulted with healthcare professionals, and ironed out financial logistics, the real challenge comes: preparing your loved one for the transitional move.

Resistance to Memory Care

Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia tend to get confused when faced with stressful changes. It’s not unusual for older adults to resist the help and care they require, especially refusing memory care. When you present your loved one with a plan to relocate from their life-long home, a changed routine, and new caregivers, there’s a high chance they’ll resist or even refuse professional care services.

Tips For the Memory Care Conversation

moving into memory care infographic

The Conversation

Communication is always key when having uncomfortable conversations with those struggling with memory loss. Unfortunately, if you’re at the point that you’re discussing moving to memory care, your loved one is likely no longer able to identify they have a problem. Try to avoid associating their need to relocate with their inability to live on their own or care for themselves.


Create a detailed plan of your loved one’s specific needs and triggers, and share it with them. Determining an honest outline of the extreme level of care they require may help them to accept the need for change.

Slow and Steady

Introduce your loved one to their new home prior to the move to build a positive association. Visit the facility beforehand for lunch or fun social events, so when they arrive for move-in day, they’ll have a sense of familiarity and won’t be triggered by the confusion. Be sure to ask the memory care facility about their available transitional programs to help your loved one’s adjustment to their new home.

Time of Day

Choose the time of day when your loved one experiences their clearest mindset. If you’re touring the facility beforehand, plan to arrive when they’re feeling their best and have the clearest understanding of what’s happening and why.


Hear your loved one out. Asking about their opinion and what concerns they may have may help reduce their resistance to memory care and provide them with a sense of control. Remember, their confusion often makes them unaware of exactly how their dementia affects their ability to live independently, leading them to reject your efforts.

Keep Calm

In preparation for the memory care conversation, carefully choose the time and place to explain what needs to happen. Pick somewhere familiar to them, avoid knee-jerk overly emotional reactions, and speak clearly and calmly. Heated conversation can cause your loved one to feel overwhelmed, sparking their resistance to memory care.

Support System

Build a safety net of family and friends to help your loved one come to terms with their need for memory care. A group of supporters, rather than one person, may allow them to understand the changes to come. However, take care not to overwhelm them.

Moving To Memory Care

At The Good Shepherd Community, we understand providing constant, quality care is a real challenge for families. Dealing with resistance to memory care is a difficult reality and can leave you feeling hopeless and susceptible to caregiver stress syndrome, the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion from caring for a loved one in need. We can help!

Our Becker and Sauk Rapids memory care cottages allow you to reconnect and enjoy spending time with your loved one. We provide personal and medical supervision and assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You’re not alone. Feel free to contact us to have an open, safe conversation about the care and support you and your loved one require. Not sure if you’re there yet? Start with a 4-minute assessment to determine which options are the right fit for you

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