9 Tips for the Move to Senior Living
Moving into a senior living community can be stressful, but there are ways to make the transition go smoothly. Follow these simple tips before, during, and after the move to ensure the process is as easy as possible.
1. Plan Ahead
The first step is to plan everything out so that you have a good idea of what is needed to move into your new home. If the senior living community has a flexible move-in date, you’ll need to pick a day when your moving helpers are free. If you have a set date for the move, you’ll need to check with everyone to make sure they can make it. Before you move, make time to take inventory of your possessions. Preparing now will make the move even easier. If you're going to be moving a lot of items to your new home, you should consider reserving a moving van in advance.
2. Get a Floor Plan
If you can get a floor plan of the unit you will be moving to, it will help you plan out the move. Many senior living communities have floor plans on their websites, or available in person. With the floor plan in hand, you’ll be able to see how much space is available for furniture and belongings. The floor plan will also allow you to plan out where you want to put everything.
Planning in advance will help you focus your energy on moving day. Just think how easy your move will be without needing to make constant adjustments! Visit your new home a few times before the move to understand the layout better. Take photos of the empty rooms to assist with your planning and visualization.
Looking at senior living communities? Make sure you're asking the right questions with our Senior Community Evaluation Checklist.
Aside from moving the heavy objects, this might be the hardest thing to do on this list. You most likely won’t want to take everything with you to your new home, so you’ll have to cut down on the clutter. Start by taking a look around your home for items that you haven't used in the past year. If you didn't need it then, you are not likely to need it in the future. Items with extreme sentimental value can be given to family members for safekeeping.
If you were able to get a floor plan, downsizing will be much easier since you’ll know exactly how much space you’ll have to work with. Some senior living communities have Design Specialists, who will be able to help you plan out your living space. Here’s a short list of some of the things to bring with you:
- Dining table/coffee table
- Picture Frames
- Vase of flowers
4. Buy Something New
Getting rid of possessions is never fun, and it can be upsetting. After downsizing, it's a good idea to go shopping to pick out something new for your future home. You may need something small like a new lamp, or maybe a larger piece of art. New items can make your new home special, but it's important to blend the new items with older, sentimental pieces.
5. Get Help With the Setup
Your move-in day has finally arrived! This is the point when you will likely need the most help. Are you ready to see the benefit of all that pre-planning you did earlier?
If you are planning on bringing a lot of your possessions to your new home, it might be a good idea to get a rental van so the move doesn’t take multiple trips. You can also check and see if hiring a moving company is a feasible option. Getting as many people to help out with this phase will make things go faster.
Once all your items are in place, you might find you don't like some part of the new layout. That's okay; it's important to be flexible! If you don't like the flow you planned, or something doesn't feel right, just make some adjustments as needed.
6. Stock the Kitchen
It is a good idea to stock your new kitchen with some essentials. A lot of the food can come from your former home, but if you need to, buying some extra groceries can go a long way. Many senior living communities will have dining options, but it's always a good idea to have your own food in your home. To celebrate the move, you can even cook for everyone that helped you, or maybe go out to eat nearby.
7. Label Kitchen Drawers/Cabinets
Moving to a new home can be disorienting, and it can be difficult to remember where everything is in your new home. An easy way to help with this is to label the cabinets in the kitchen, so you'll be able to find what you’re looking for quickly. Sticky notes are a good option since they can be easily removed once you have adjusted to your new layout. Feel free to label drawers and cabinets in other rooms, too.
8. Work With the Staff
Now that you're moved in, you'll want to get to know the staff at your new community. The more the staff knows about you, the better the care they'll be able to provide. Working with the staff is a great opportunity to get answers to any questions that may have popped up during your move, and can put a worried mind at ease. The staff is trained to provide you with the best care possible, so no question is too strange!
9. For the Caregivers: Stay in touch!
Family members, this tip is for you! A common fear of seniors moving into a senior living community is losing touch with their loved ones. Schedule time for a weekly phone call, or visit the community to keep in touch. Senior living communities often offer fun events that family members can participate in, so stop by for a meal and an activity. A little time set aside for your loved one can go a long way.
If you follow these tips, your move to senior living will be easier then you ever thought possible. By breaking it down and planning things out, you'll show it doesn't have to be a scary transition.
If you have more questions about the move, share them in the comments below! We'll get back to you as soon as we can.
And don't forget to download the Senior Community Evaluation Checklist, so you can be sure the move is right for you.