Here’s a what-to-do checklist on what to do before moving to a senior care facility. This will help you prepare for this new transition to the next part of your or your loved one’s life.
This guide will help you find the care facility that will meet your loved ones’ needs to the actual moving day.
We break down the things you need to do in steps and prepared a checklist of tips on how to do it.
FOR EASIER NAVIGATION:
- STEP #1 Finding A Care Facility
- STEP #2 Tour The Facility
- STEP #3 Know The Rules
- STEP #4 Plan Your Loved One’s Healthcare Needs
- STEP #5 Downsizing
- STEP #6 Packing
- STEP #7 Deep Cleaning
- STEP #8 Finding The Moving Company
- STEP #9 What To Do A Week Before Moving
- STEP #10 Move Out Day
STEP #1 FINDING A CARE FACILITY
Before looking for a care facility, you need to understand your loved one’s needs. If this is a parent, you should identify the care facility that will best fit your parent’s physical and health needs.
Some examples are, do you need an independent living facility, assisted living facility, or memory care facility?
Looking at how much you can afford can also help you identify and research different types of care facilities in your area.
Some things to consider when looking for a care facility:
- Level of care
- Activities and entertainment
STEP #2 TOUR THE CARE FACILITY
It is a good idea to visit and tour the care facility before making your decision.
Request a full tour of the whole facility, take notes, and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Re-visit the facility at different times. It is good to schedule your visit during meal times to see the actual condition of the residents.
- A room with a window so that residents can have natural light and orientation to the time of the day and different weather and season.
- A bed appropriate for the size and height of the resident
- A clean and comfortable mattress.
- Bedding that is suitable for the weather and climate
- Comfortable furniture and a different closet for clothing and storage spaces.
- Safe, clean, comfortable, and homelike environment.
Request to visit the room your loved one will occupy to measure the floor area and storage space. Taking measurements will help ensure your parent’s belongings will fit the room without crowding.
STEP #3 KNOW THE RULES
Make sure you read and understand the contract, resident’s rights, and house rules before making your final decision.
You should ask for a list of items and services the care facility provides included in the monthly fee.
Here’s a list of questions to ask to get an idea of the actual cost:
- Is there secure wifi access available?
- Does the room have cable, and is it part of the fee?
- Do they provide telephone service?
- Do you provide a wall clock and TV?
- Are bedding and towels provided?
- Is the laundering of linen included in the monthly cost?
- Do you offer laundry services for an additional fee?
- Do you provide personal care products?
- Can I bring a small refrigerator?
- Is there a corkboard or whiteboard for posting reminders, calendars, and pictures?
Be sure to ask these questions. You don’t want to be surprised when you get the first-month bill and learn that the services you thought were included were, in fact, optional extras.
STEP #4 PLAN YOUR LOVED ONE’S HEALTHCARE NEEDS
It is essential to ensure your loved one’s health care has continuity when they move to the care facility.
Make an appointment with your loved one’s primary care physician before the move. Ask for a physical check-up and discuss the upcoming move with your doctor.
Ask for copies of up-to-date medical records and medication lists with directions. Don’t forget to show your doctor the paperwork required by the facility to be signed by the doctor.
If the care facility is located in a different area, it is wise to consider the following:
- Ask your doctor for a recommendation near the facility
- Plan appointments with the doctor to avoid delays in receiving medical care
- Make appointments for other health and medical needs
- Check with the eye doctor, dentist, or any specialist before the move.
Ask about medication management. Check with the care facility if they accept bottled medication. If they do, fill your loved one’s prescriptions and give them to the facility upon move-in.
If the facility doesn’t take bottled medication, arrange with the facility for medication management for your loved one. The facility’s pharmacy will probably get the medicines to your loved one, and the nursing staff will administer them on the required schedule.
STEP #5 DOWNSIZING
If your parent has a lot of household possessions, you may need to downsize before the move.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Sort their things before you start packing.
- Try to keep sorting and organizing to less than a couple of hours per day.
- Make the sorting a pleasant experience with your loved one.
- Have your loved on join in if they want to stop and reminisce.
- Let your loved ones decide where their things will go
- Put colored tags to mark the items for their final destination
- Categorize each item and determine if they will go to your siblings, other family members, donated or sold
- You can downsize through garage sales, auction, selling items, or donating
- You can also give things to relatives and friends or find a storage facility.
You can also get rid of old and useless items in the home, like old bills and unnecessary paperwork.
However, you must keep important documents like:
- Medical records
- Birth certificates
- Financial documents
- Diplomas and degrees
- Military records
- Life insurance
- Power of attorney
Keep these essential documents in one central location and let your family members know where it’s kept. You can also put it in a safety deposit box.
STEP #6 PACKING
Packing is one of the essential tasks before moving to a care facility. Efficient packing can help alleviate the stress of moving.
You can hire a senior living moving specialist to help you with the move. They can help you pack the essential things you need in the care facility. They can help set up estate sales or donations. They can also assist in packing, hiring a moving company, and unpacking when you move.
Clearly label all items, designate colors for things that need to be moved, what should be sold, what should be donated, items to be put in storage, and things to be thrown away. This will make things easier for you and the moving company.
TIPS IN PACKING:
1. Pack the most important items first – Essential items like medication, clothing, toiletries, bedding, and home furnishings should be packed first. Then pack other things that your loved one will frequently use, like books, hobby sets, and entertainment. Plan the things to pack according to the size of the new living space.
2. Store expensive jewelry and heirlooms in a safe place – put essential items in a safety deposit box. Find duplicates of any sentimental things like wedding rings they want to keep.
3. Mark all items with your loved one’s name. Use a permanent marker on fabrics and label them with your loved one’s name and room number.
4. Create an inventory of all the things your loved one brought to the care facility. This will help you keep track of their belongings and determine if something has been lost.
WHAT TO PACK:
Here’s a list of the items you should bring for your loved one to the care facility:
- Comfortable everyday wear like sweaters, jeans, shirts
- Pajamas and robe
- Jackets, vests, and a warm coat
- Footwear such as socks, slippers, and non-skid shoes
- Formal outfits for special occasions
Bring different clothes that are appropriate for the weather. Clothing must be easy to put on and off and be able to withstand many washings. Hang the clothes together as outfits so they will be easier to wear.
- Avoid accessories with sharp points or edges
- You can bring bright scarves, beads, fancy pieces of jewelry
- Hats for dad
- Wallet – remove insurance card and credit cards
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Soap and shampoo
Pick their favorite brand and fragrances. Keep backup products in their bathroom to avoid running out of supply.
LINENS AND BEDCLOTHES
Some care facility provides linen, such as towels and beddings.
- You can bring soft, warm blankets or quilts.
- Small lap blanket when sitting in a wheelchair or armchair
Make sure linens are machine washable and can withstand frequent washings.
- Sofa, chairs, nightstand
- Folding chairs for guests
- Kitchenware such as dishes, glasses, and cutlery
- Keepsakes and knick-knacks
- Framed photos and artwork
Home furnishings is essential to make your loved one’s environment as homey as possible.
- Appliances (if allowed) coffeemaker, microwave, mini-fridge
- TV and radio
- Clothes hangers
- Assistive devices like eyeglasses, hearing aids, walker, or canes
- Alarm clock
- Wall clock
Some care facilities provide these items. Check with the care facility before bringing these items.
- TV and DVD player – label these items and the remote, also leave spare batteries.
- Wireless headphones if your loved one is sharing a room so they can watch without disturbing their roommate
- Extension cord – ask the care facility if they allow extension cords.
- Smartphone, laptop, or tablet – ask if wifi is available, know the passwords, and corresponding fees. Don’t forget to bring chargers and connecting cords.
Put a label on all electronic devices and, if possible, put a GPS locator in case they go missing. You should keep a record of all devices and their serial numbers.
Pack your loved one’s favorite things to make the room homey.
Family pictures – post family pictures on a bulletin board, photo album, or scrapbook. You can also upload the photos in a digital picture frame or display the images as collages on the wall. Write the people’s names and relationships in the photo; this will help them remember names and faces.
Favorite artwork or posters – Post your loved one’s favorite paintings or posters on the wall. Ask the facility’s rules regarding hardware allowed to hang on frames. Check if they allow putting nails on the wall. If nails are prohibited, use sticky strips or poster tack to hang artwork and posters on the wall.
You can also pack a CD player or MP3 player with their favorite music. Bring a headset to allow them to listen without disturbing their roommate.
Pack items to keep your loved one engage and entertained.
Put a label on the supplies for their favorite art or craft, like painting, knitting, or crocheting. Suppose they love coloring pack coloring books and a set of colored pencils. Those who love puzzles pack large-print crossword puzzles, word-find, jigsaw puzzles, and Sudoku to help them pass the time.
If your loved one loves writing and receiving letters, provide them with the materials, they need. Pack a couple of pens, notebooks, and some stationery. If your loved one is religious, pack their religious literature, prayer books, crucifix, and rosary.
If your loved one loves to read, pack their favorite books. If they have newspaper and magazine subscriptions, transfer the delivery address to the care facility.
STEP #7 DEEP CLEANING
After decluttering and packing, provide enough time for the deep cleaning of your home. You may need to help your loved one perform this task or ask for help from friends and family. If you feel the task is too mundane, you can hire professional cleaners to do the job.
Here are some deep cleaning tips:
- Organize your things according to their labels.
- Go to the donation site to donate things.
- Sell the items that need to be sold. You can order a dumpster to dispose of unwanted items.
- Find a resource to dispose of motor oil, old paints, pesticides, and other toxic substances that can’t be put in the trash.
Deep cleaning your home will help you to sell it faster. If you are renting it, you can save from your security deposit by reducing the cleaning cost.
STEP #8 FINDING THE MOVING COMPANY
1. Ask your care facility for moving company recommendations. Look for their list and do research online. Online reviews can help you choose the moving company for your needs.
2. Get a cost estimate. Make sure the moving cost is within your budget.
3. Book your moving date to ensure the moving company is available on your move-in date.
4. Ensure the moving company is properly licensed and insured in the area you are moving to.
5. Ask the company if they can move heavy and specialty items. Make sure the company is capable of moving heavy furniture or bed.
STEP #9 WHAT TO DO A WEEK BEFORE MOVING
These are the things you need to take care of before your loved one move to the care facility:
1. Cancel current utility services – contact your loved one’s utility companies and cancel their services for the old home. (most care facilities have utilities included in their bill).
2. Update your loved one’s address on their:
- Life insurance policies
- Bank accounts
- Credit card accounts
- Investment and retirement accounts
- Driver’s license and vehicle registration
- Medicare and Social security
- Voter registration
- Newspaper and magazine subscription
3. Inform all necessary parties about the change of address – Contact all the people that your loved one transact and provide the updated address. These may include creditors, lawyers, insurance companies, financial services, and shopping websites.
4. Set up mail forwarding with the US Postal Service – set up mail forwarding to the care facility a week before moving. Arrange with the care facility’s front desk to collect all mail before the move-in date. This will ensure nothing gets lost during the transition.
5. Confirm with the care facility that all paperwork has been signed and received – complete all pre-move-in paperwork. Confirmed with the facility that your loved one is ready for the move-in.
6. Know your loved one’s new contact information – get the landline number and ask if you need to provide a cellphone.
7. Confirm with the moving company – before moving to the care facility, remind the moving company about the move-in date.
8. Ask the care facility for gate codes – so that your family and the moving company can gain access on the move-in date.
9. Add the care facility contact number on your devices – ask for your loved one’s schedule so you can program your calendar of events.
10. Make an end-of-life plan – end-of-life details for a living will, estate planning, do not resuscitate order, and attorney’s power must be in place before the move-in date. Make sure to provide the care facility with a copy of this information.
STEP #10 MOVE OUT DAY
On the scheduled move-out day, make sure the change of address has been accomplished and your personal possessions are packed and ready to move.
Your house should also be thoroughly cleaned, and your new room is prepared for the move-out.
Supervise the move and make sure all possessions are moved to the facility. Help your loved one unpack and make sure pictures, and personal mementos are placed where they can frequently see them create a homey feeling.
Get to know the staff members at the care facility. Know the programs, services, and activities. Share a meal with your loved ones and spend some quiet time with them before you leave.
Arriving at the care facility starts a new chapter in your loved one’s life, so ensure that they take their time and enjoy the new space and activities.
Program your calendar with your loved one’s activities and events so that you will know what’s going on at the care facility.
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