Moving from a home that you’ve possibly lived in for decades to a senior living community can be a big transition. Having a solid plan in place early is the key to a smooth, low-stress move-in day. For caregivers and family members who are assisting older adults with this transition, it’s important to recognize that this is a significant life transition. Extra patience and willingness to listen can go a long way to helping your loved one feel relaxed and secure in their new home.
Know The Policies
Most senior living communities have specific policies regarding what is and is not acceptable to have in a living apartment. Carefully review all paperwork and policies early on, and you’ll save yourself time overall in the planning process. Many communities offer lists of items that new residents are recommended to bring. As questions arise while you review the pre-move materials, jot them down so that you can consult later with someone at the community. Here are some general categories of items to consider for the packing list:
- Any small kitchen appliances that aren’t supplied
- TV and radio
- Alarm clock
- Clothes hangers
- Personal assistive devices, such as eyeglasses, hearing aids and canes or walkers
- An e-reader or tablet and/or books and magazines
- Favorite furniture, such as sofa, chairs and end tables/nightstand
- Photos, artwork and special memorabilia or knick-knacks
- Dishware, glassware and cutlery
- Bedding, a sofa throw and toss pillows
- Check the available closet space and pack clothing and shoes accordingly
- Personal items such as toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush and comb, lotion and makeup, shaving kit and razor
- A list of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
Consider Furniture Carefully
Although most senior living communities expect residents to bring some of their own furnishings, even the most spacious suite is unlikely to accommodate all of the furniture from a four-bedroom home. Take a full inventory of furniture, and then pick the handful of favorite items that will help the new apartment feel like home. Then, make plans to gift, donate or sell any remaining usable items. For example, you may want to gift the dining room set to a favorite niece or a local charity, but bring the cozy recliner. There are plenty of options to deal with unwanted items. An estate sale can be a great way to pare down belongings, while also bringing in some revenue. After gifting items to family and friends, you might consider donating any remaining items to a charity. Many of these organizations will even coordinate a pick-up of the items directly from your home. Here’s a partial list of local charitable organizations that accept donations of furniture, clothing and/or household goods:
Consolidation Is Key
Consider how you might consolidate personal items so that you’ll have less to move. For example, seniors who love to read might consider investing in an e-reader and donating most of their book collection to their favorite public library. Sort through and get rid of unused toiletries and makeup, donate any clothing and shoes that haven’t been worn in the past two years and try to pare down knick-knacks for a fresh, uncluttered start.
Make It A Welcoming Place
At senior communities like Lighthouse, residents are encouraged to make their apartment their home – warm, welcoming and personalized. In addition to favorite items from home, consider adding a couple of new pieces such as a comforter set or colorful toss pillows. Or, create a cozy reading nook with a comfortable chair, side table and lamp. A space that is warm inviting will quickly feel like home.
Get Involved And Get Support
One of the biggest benefits of living at Lighthouse is being part of a vibrant community. Attending a couple of events each week is useful for getting to know neighbors. Family members are invited to visit often, particularly just after move-in, so they, too, can familiarize themselves with the community and get to know residents, their families and our team. With any new living situation, there’s bound to be a short adjustment period. To learn more about how joining a senior living community could benefit you or your loved one, visit our resources page or contact us to schedule a tour.