Moving into a care home can be a distressing and anxiety-inducing experience. The secret to making the transition easier is lots of detailed planning.
Have a strategy for everything from packing to settling in at the new home.
Here’s a handy moving into a care home checklist you can use to make sure everything goes smoothly. It’s aimed at family members who are helping an elderly member of the family move into a care home.
Find out what you are allowed to take
You probably already have a list of rules and policies for the care home. If not, call them up and ask for a document listing them all.
Check what they allow one to take.
Do they allow furniture? Adjustable bed? Riser recliner? If they do, check whether there are special requirements regarding size, number of pieces, quality and fire retardant materials.
Do they allow valuables such as jewellery and art pieces? If so, check if they’ll be insured under the care home’s policy or if you need to take out/transfer your own insurance policy.
Do they allow pets? If they do, what kind of pets and how are they looked after.
Don’t forget to check other items they require residents to bring with them, e.g. razor, toothbrush, etc.
Choosing what to take
Once you determine what you can take and what you can’t, decide what is worth taking to the care home. You probably don’t have a lot of space to fit everything.
Start with the practical stuff they can’t do without such as a massage chair and medical equipment. Then add sentimental items that will help them adjust to the new place faster with less anxiety.
These can include their dressing table, a particular piece of art, their jewellery collection or a certain blanket.
Don’t forget to also pack a family photo album, a few books or magazines if they love to read, their diary if they have one and anything you think they need to make the place feel more like home.
Then there are of course the essentials like clothing and shoes.
You may also have to be choosy about the clothing items to pack. Closet space will likely be limited.
Once you know what you are going to carry, start packing. I suggest you write down a packing checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.
What to do with the remaining stuff
There is the question of what you are going to do with all the other stuff you are not going to take. You have several options.
- Leave it in the house and have someone live there and look after it.
- Give it away to friends and family.
- Give it away to charity.
- Put it in storage.
- Ask the local council to come pick up some of the items for recycling (at a fee).
Arranging for a moving service
Hire a moving service ahead of time to make sure they arrive on time. If there isn’t a lot of things you are carrying, you can also decide to move them yourself.
On the day you are moving, start early. You don’t want to start moving boxes and unpacking at night. It’s easy to forget something or mess up.
If possible, unpack and arrange the room at the care home before they settle in. Finding a room that is already filled with stuff they know and love will make it much easier for them to adjust.
3. Settling in
Review the care plan
By the time you are moving in, you should have already prepared a care plan in collaboration with the care home.
This plan outlines the resident’s needs regarding their health, diet, personal preferences and other areas.
It includes recommendations on how to meet those needs.
Review the care plan with the staff one last time to make sure there’s nothing you’ve forgotten.
Talk with the care providers
As you review the care plan, take that opportunity to ask any other questions you might have. Also encourage your elderly friend or member of the family to ask questions.
Don’t hesitate to seek clarification on things like social activities, diet, visiting hours, health care and any other concern you might have.
Stay in contact
You play an important role in helping your elderly parent or grandparent settle in successfully. The staff will do their best to make them feel welcome but it’s also essential that you stay in contact.
Visit now and then, take them out for day visits and call them often. It’s also a good idea to bring kids and other family members occasionally.