nursing home packing

Moving Into an Assisted Living Community? Here is a What to Bring Checklist

When moving into an assisted living community, what to pack is often an ominous question.

Here is a helpful guide to all the questions you should ask your loved one’s assisted living community facilitator and how to begin the packing process:

Helpful Questions

Certain things are often included in the fee of living in a nursing home, so it is important to ask questions before you start packing to make sure you’re not packing anything unnecessary.

  • Is a clock, TV, wifi, etc. provided?
  • Are personal hygiene products provided?
  • Is laundry of linens included? If not, can an additional fee be paid to make it included?
  • Are bedding and towels included?
  • Is there cable in the bedrooms? If not, can it be paid for?
  • Are calendars or cork boards provided for scheduling and hanging pictures?
  • Is their telephone service? Long distance?

Make a list of your questions as they occur to you so that you have them handy when the time comes to ask.

Starting the Packing Process

Once you have eliminated what you don’t need to pack, it’s time to start thinking about what you do. It can be difficult to purge your loved one’s things, even if you’re planning to keep them elsewhere. Oftentimes it can be hard to break long grown attachments to certain items and objects that will be unnecessary and cluttering when your loved one arrives at the nursing home.

Help them go through their garage, rooms, storage areas, and closets and make sure that as you go, you are sorting things into what is going with them and what isn’t. If there is a lot that has to be put elsewhere, be sure that you assure them that these things aren’t being thrown out. Keep them somewhere and make sure that they know in case they really need something or just to give them peace of mind.

But while many things will need to be put away in storage, don’t be so quick to put away everything that has been important to them over their lifetime. Let them keep some of it so they feel they still have a connection to the rest of their life and their home.

What to Pack

Clothing. The clothing should be sturdy and easy to get on and off. Your clothes will likely have to go through far more washings and dryings than it used to and you don’t want your loved one to struggle to dress in the mornings and nights. It is also important to pack enough long sleeves and sweaters. It is more likely that they will be cold in the nursing home than warm. Ask how often laundering services are provided so that you know how many outfits should be packed, but generally a week’s worth of clothing and some extra works best.

Blankets. While linens are often provided by the nursing home, your loved will likely feel more comfortable with some of their own blankets as well so they feel less similar to everyone around them. A loved blanket or quilt from their home is always nice and it’s a good idea to get a throw blanket or something small to put on their lap if they are in a wheelchair. However, like with clothes, it’s important that these will hold up in the washing machine.

Toiletries. If the nursing home doesn’t provide these or even if they do, it is important to always have a good stock. These may be shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothpaste, perfume, and more and if the family will be providing them, try to keep it to the same brands your loved one was buying before so that they continue with their habits.

Accessories. Don’t think these need to be banned. Many elderly are very attached to their accessories and their jewelry because they have always worn them. It will allow them to feel like themselves and like they haven’t completely abandoned their style whether it be scarves or a favorite hat. Although they should have some of their jewelry with them, make sure that none of it is too sharp or rough.

Bags. You likely don’t feel quite right unless you have your purse or wallet on you, so it’s a good guess your loved one will feel the same way. Let them bring a purse or wallet to carry around with them to make them feel more comfortable and natural.

Electronics. Everyone likes their TV and if one isn’t provided, the family should provide one for their loved one to make sure they are comfortable and entertained. A DVD player allows them to watch their favorite movies, and smartphones and tablets are likely as important to your loved one as they can be to you. Make sure that everything is set up with long and cords and wifi passwords if necessary so they don’t run into problems.

Music. Even if Blu-Ray and Netflix weren’t around when they were younger, music certainly was, and playing some of their favorite music off of a small music player may be a significant touch to making their room comfortable.

Sentimental Items. Everyone likes to show off the things that are most important to them and that they believe tell the story of their life, especially people who have lived longer. Make sure you have plenty of their favorite items and pictures so that their room feels personalized and familiar. When bringing these sort of things in, it is important to talk to the faculty at the nursing home to learn what is and isn’t prohibited from the rooms.

Activities. Maybe they love to read or knit or do puzzles. Make sure that you bring some of their favorite hobbies to the nursing home so not only do they have something to do, but they feel like they’re back at home, doing crosswords at the kitchen table and knitting by the window.

Decorations. Maybe they’re for year round or maybe they’re just for certain holidays but try to keep your love one’s room decorated and fun. Come in and decorate at the holidays so it feels like home and put up some nice pictures and calendars to fill the walls. Maybe every few weeks bring in some flowers or hang something nice up on their door so they always know that it’s theirs.

Assisted Living Questions? Let Us Help!

If you have questions regarding these or other concerns about assisted living communities in the Aurum Network, contact us at (978) 282-9551 or visit assisted living facilities locations on the Aurum Network.

 

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