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Moving to Assisted Living Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide for Success

granddaughter and grandmother enjoying outdoor walks together

Whether you’re searching for more support with daily activities, a vibrant social circle, or the peace of mind that comes with person-centered care, a move to senior living is an empowering one.

From researching your options to settling comfortably into your new home, this Moving to Assisted Living checklist will simplify your transition. Think of it as your guide for making informed choices and finding the community that feels like the perfect fit.

Step 1: Research Communities To Find the Right Fit

Every assisted living community has a unique personality, just like you! Researching the perfect fit means discovering a place that feels comfortable, welcoming, and caters to your individual needs and preferences. Here are some tips 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. 
  • Safety Is a Priority: At Walnut Place, your safety and well-being are our top priorities. That’s why we created EverSafe 360°™, an innovative program developed by LCS® to promote a healthy, secure environment for our residents.
  • 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.
  • Affordability: It’s essential you find a community that works with your budget. Walnut Place offers flexible month-to-month leases; all-inclusive rates for assisted living and memory care; services and amenities tailored to your lifestyle; and respectful, person-centered care.

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.

Ask Questions

Your visit is your chance to go beyond the brochures and websites, digging into the details that truly matter for a fulfilling lifestyle. 

The right questions help you understand the community’s care philosophy, daily routines, social offerings, dining options, and overall atmosphere. Plus, they give you a sense of the staff’s responsiveness, showing how they value residents and family involvement. 

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: Take the Stress Out of Downsizing

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

The sooner you begin sorting your belongings, the less rushed and overwhelming moving day will feel. Remember, this doesn’t mean you have to pack everything right away – simply starting the sorting process will give you a sense of control and make the whole experience more manageable.

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.

caregiver shaving senior man in beauty salon

Step 3: Take Care of the Little Details

Choosing your new assisted living community is exciting, but keep in mind the technical details of moving. To ensure everything goes smoothly, here’s what to consider:

  • 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 information 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 on our Resources page.

Step 4: Move In – Welcome Home!

Move-in day is the beginning of a wonderful new adventure in assisted living! With a little preparation, you can make the transition feel positive and organized. 

Here are some tips to help you move:

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: Moving can be tiring, so having easy-to-eat snacks on hand will keep your energy up. Include things like granola bars, fruit, nuts, or a few of your favorite treats.

Step 5: Settle In and Build New Connections

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.

two senior ladies enjoy tea and smiling

Personalized Care, Vibrant Living – It’s All at Walnut Place

Experience personalized care tailored to your needs, delicious and nutritious meals, a vibrant calendar of activities to keep you engaged and entertained, and the warmth of genuine friendships at Walnut Place. Contact us to schedule a visit and discover why our community could be the perfect place to start your new chapter.