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Planning for What Your Loved One Should Bring to Assisted Living in Dallas, TX

a packed suitcase and packing list to move to senior living

You’ve made the choice for your loved one to move to assisted living. While this brings many benefits, some families worry about the details of the move. What should my loved one really bring to assisted living? How do I help them downsize? What can I do to minimize their stress?

Certainly, any big move can feel overwhelming at times. However, a little preparation can help things go smoother. As their caregiver, you can take away many of the common stressors of moving simply by having a plan, creating a packing checklist, and scheduling important items ahead of time.

Moving considerations

If your loved one has many emotions about their move, include them in the planning. For example, talk about what items you need to schedule or any must-haves they want to bring to assisted living. This lets them feel more in control. Then, start adding items to your calendar. If you break down moving into small tasks, it will help both of you take things one day at a time.

As you talk through the move, be sure to consider the following:

  • Get a moving company scheduled early. Movers tend to book up fastest on weekends. As a result, choosing a move date in the middle of the week may give you more flexibility.
  • Split up rooms or areas in your loved one’s home and tackle a few each week. Take the lead in helping decide what to keep. Often, it’s easier to start with the rooms your loved one uses the least.
  • You may have special pieces of furniture or other keepsakes that your loved one wants to pass on to family. Arrange to have family members pick up or deliver these items.
  • For unneeded items, put garage sales, donation drop-offs, or trash pickups on the calendar.
  • Ask your loved one if they’d like to do something special as a goodbye to their old home. Have a dinner or invite friends or family over one last time.
  • Finally, talk about your plans for their old home. If you are selling it, decide when and how this process will work best as your loved one transitions to their new home.

Checklist for packing

Ask your loved one’s new community for a copy of the floor plan as you decide what to bring to assisted living. Being able to visualize the space lets you know what will fit, what you need to let go of, or what you may need to purchase.

Then, create a checklist like the one below of everything you know you’ll need. With your checklist in hand, you can then start sorting out items. To keep you organized, the AARP recommends using six groups: move, sell, donate, up for grabs, pass along, and toss. If your loved one is having a hard time letting go of an item, set it aside and revisit it later.

Use this checklist to help you know what to bring to assisted living:

Living area

  • Recliner or favorite chair
  • Side table
  • TV


  • Bed
  • Table for bedside
  • Dresser
  • Waterproof cover that zips and covers the full mattress
  • Mattress pad
  • Bedding, such as sheets, comforter, blanket, bedspread, and pillows
  • Laundry basket or hamper


  • Shower chair
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Shower curtain and rings
  • Bathmat
  • Small trash can
  • Paper products, such as toilet paper and tissue
  • Hand soap

Personal care

  • Toiletries, such as soap, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, and cologne or perfume
  • Hair care, such as hair dryer, brush, comb, pick, or hair accessories
  • Dental care items, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, or denture care
  • Shaving supplies
  • Incontinence supplies, such as briefs, wipes, cream, and bed pads
  • Over-the-counter medications and vitamins


  • Socks, underwear, and bras
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Slippers
  • Robe and pajamas
  • Housecoat
  • Enough comfortable and casual clothes for about a week in cold and warm weather, such as short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts, shirts, pants, sweaters, or sweats
  • A couple of dressy outfits, such as dress pants, skirts, or dresses, for special occasions, but in general, most residents like to keep it comfortable
  • Items for winter, such as a hat, coat, and gloves

Sentimental items

You shouldn’t include lots of valuable or especially important family items in what you bring to assisted living. However, some sentimental items do help make your loved one feel settled in faster. As you pack, gather meaningful items that you know your loved one will want to see in their new home on the first day.

  • Photos or small artwork
  • A few decorative items or keepsakes
  • Books
  • Hobby supplies, such as knitting
  • Comfort items, such as a special quilt

Helping your loved one settle into assisted living in Dallas, TX

While our checklist can help you get started packing, it’s common to have more questions too. At Walnut Place, we can give you more details about your loved one’s specific apartment, needs, and services. Our dedicated team is ready to help make your loved one’s move as smooth as possible. Contact us today to find out more about assisted living.