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Moving to Assisted Living Checklist: Your Stress-Free Guide

Whether you’re looking for extra support with daily tasks, a vibrant social scene, or the peace of mind that comes with on-site care, moving to assisted living promises a fulfilling new chapter.

This Moving to Assisted Living checklist aims to make the entire process smoother, from researching your options to settling comfortably into your new home. Consider this your step-by-step resource for navigating decisions with confidence and finding a community that genuinely feels like home.

Step 1: Finding a Community That Feels Like Home

Not all assisted living communities are created equal. It’s essential to find one that perfectly suits your needs, preferences, and personality. Here’s how to get started:

  • Location: Choose a community that reflects your lifestyle, whether it’s near loved ones, offers vibrant city living, or has easy access to healthcare. 
  • Assistance with Activities of Daily Living: Think about the everyday things that are important to you. Consider what kind of assistance you currently require with activities of daily living (ADLs) and what you might need in the future
  • Amenities for Wellness: It’s important your new community supports your mind, body, and spirit. At Parkwood Healthcare, Our complimentary Health & Wellness Navigation Program™ is part of our commitment to your well-being. From move-in day, your personal Wellness Navigator coordinates your care, answers your questions, and advocates for your needs.
  • Atmosphere: Do you crave a vibrant community with endless activities? Or perhaps a cozy, intimate setting feels more like home? Explore communities that match your personality and discover where you’ll thrive.

Time for a Visit!

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to schedule visits. Here’s what to look for:

  • Cleanliness and Overall Condition: Is the community well-maintained and inviting?
  • Friendliness of Staff: Do they seem genuinely caring and attentive? It’s important to feel comfortable with the people who might become part of your daily life.
  • Residents: Do they appear happy and engaged? Chat with a few residents if you can!
  • Floor Plans: Are the residences private, or will you have a roommate? Do you like the layout? Ask about floor plan sizes and if there are options to personalize your space.

Visit Parkwood Healthcare and discover a warm community and personalized senior care, with everything included in one simple monthly fee. This means you can enjoy the comfort of your own home, peace of mind with care services, and access to amenities and utilities (excluding personal laundry, cable, and phone).

Ask Questions

This is your chance to learn everything you need. Discuss topics like cost, service levels, activities, staffing ratios, policies, and any other important factors. 

Tip: Take notes during your visits—these will help you compare later. Bringing a trusted loved one along can be incredibly helpful for support and to get a second perspective.

Step 2: Downsizing With Less Stress

Saying goodbye to a home filled with memories can be an emotional experience. But remember, it’s also the start of an exciting new chapter!  Here’s how to make the downsizing process easier:

Start Early

Giving yourself plenty of time is key to reducing stress. The sooner you begin sorting through your belongings, the less overwhelming it will feel when moving day gets closer.

Sort Your Belongings Into Groups

Your new home in assisted living is a fresh start. Prioritize the belongings that make you happiest and will help you create a cozy, welcoming new space. Categorizing your belongings is a great way to downsize with confidence and make moving much smoother. Consider these categories:

  • Must-Haves: The daily essentials, cherished items, and  pieces that simply make you smile – These are definitely coming with you!
  • Gifts for Loved Ones: Are there special heirlooms or items you’d like to pass along to family and friends? Start those conversations, and share the memories those items hold.
  • Donations: Gently used items in good condition can brighten someone else’s life.
  • Not Quite Ready To Let Go: It’s okay to have a few things you can’t part with just yet. Consider temporary storage until you can decide.

Ask for Help

Don’t hesitate to ask friends, family, or even professional organizers for assistance. An extra set of hands and a fresh perspective can be invaluable.

Tip: Take photos of items you’re letting go of. This helps you preserve those precious memories without needing to keep the physical object.

daughter and senior mom in wheel chair smiling in living room

Step 3: Taking Care of the Details

While the logistical aspects of moving to assisted living may feel less exciting than choosing your new community, addressing these details carefully is essential for a smooth and successful transition. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Understanding Costs: Get a crystal-clear breakdown from your chosen community. Clarify what’s included in the monthly fees and if there are additional charges for specific services.
  • Explore All Options: Investigate potential sources of financial aid, such as long-term care insurance or Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefits. 
  • Applications: Many communities have a formal application process. Be prepared with personal details, and complete them carefully.
  • Medical Records: Coordinate with your physician to obtain your health records and any recent assessments your new community may require.
  • Legal Matters: It’s a good time to double-check that your power of attorney, advance directives, and other important papers are all in order and easy to find.
  • Keep Loved Ones Informed: Family, or whoever you’ve chosen as your support, should be updated on your plans and any important documents.

Tip: A dedicated “moving folder” is your new best friend! It keeps all the paperwork organized and easy to find when you need it.

Searching for more resources on senior living? Feel empowered and ready to make the best choices for your retirement by browsing our valuable collection of articles, guides, and checklists on senior living, well-being, and more.

Step 4: A Smooth Move-In Day—Welcome Home!

Move-in day marks the start of your exciting new chapter in assisted living! With a little preparation, it can be a smooth and enjoyable experience.  

Here are some tips to help you feel organized and reduce potential stress:

Pre-Move Walk-Through

  • Measure and Visualize: If possible, measure your new home’s doorways and furniture beforehand. This ensures a smooth move-in without unpleasant surprises and lets you plan your furniture layout.
  • Make a List: Make a quick list of any extra items you might need for your space, like shelves, lamps, curtains and non-slip rugs.

Packing and Labeling

  • Color-Coding: Color-coded stickers or labels on boxes help movers easily identify where to place them in your new home.
  • Label Clearly: Include both the contents and the room for each box. This streamlines the unpacking process.
  • “First Night” Essentials: Pack a separate bag or box with everything you’ll need for the first night: toiletries, cozy pajamas, medications, and a few cherished items.

Additional Considerations

  • Hire Movers (If Needed): Professionals specializing in senior moves can ease the physical burden and make the day less tiring.
  • Enlist Help: Don’t be afraid to ask loved ones or community staff to assist with unpacking, furniture arranging, or last-minute needs.
  • Personalize Your Space: Make your new home feel familiar and comforting immediately by unpacking treasured photos, mementos, and your favorite things.
  • Start With the Essentials: Setting up your bedroom and bathroom first creates a haven of comfort at the end of a busy day.

Tip: Order takeout and have simple snacks ready, or unwind and savor a delicious meal at Parkwood Healthcare. It’s the perfect break during your exciting move-in day.

Step 5: Settling In and Making New Friends

The first few weeks in assisted living are a time of exciting adjustments! Here are some simple ways to dive into this new chapter and make your community feel like home:

  • Get Involved: Your community likely has a bustling activity calendar. Check it out and join activities that catch your eye—hobbies, outings, or social events. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people.
  • Introduce Yourself: Don’t be shy! A warm “hello” and a smile can spark new friendships with both residents and staff.
  • Explore: Get to know your community’s layout. Where’s the dining room, the social spaces, or maybe a lovely garden?
  • Be Patient With Yourself: Change takes time. Remember to schedule some quiet moments for rest, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.
  • Stay Connected: Visits and calls from loved ones make the transition smoother and remind you of all the support you have.

Tip: Moving to assisted living is a big step, and it’s natural to have mixed feelings. Know that you’re not alone! This change offers personalized support, companionship, and the freedom to enjoy life without daily worries. Embrace this new chapter with an open heart and an open mind.

senior man with friend sitting in chairs

Find Comfort, Connection, and a New Sense of Freedom at Parkwood Healthcare

Here, you’ll find the personalized care you need, the warmth of a welcoming assisted living community, and the freedom to enjoy life on your terms. Contact us online to explore all that Parkwood Healthcare offers and discover the perfect place to call home.