If you and your family have taken the decision to move elderly relatives into an assisted living setting, this checklist will help you get everything in line for the big move.
Moving into assisted accommodation can be an emotional situation: guilt can often overwhelm adult children who are taking the steps to move their parents, while seniors can feel scared about the new surroundings. The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone, and it is completely normal to feel all sorts of emotions during the process.
The easiest way to make the move much less intimidating is to start getting things ready well in advance. Breaking things down will make it easier for everyone to manage.
There are three main types of senior living: assisted, independent, and memory care. Some facilities will specialize in one form of accommodation, while others, like Frontier Management, may combine the three. Before starting the moving process, it’s vital you understand what is included in the new accommodation and the level of care that will be provided.
1. Healthcare Requirements
The main reason seniors move to assisted living is because they lack the ability to do certain ADLs (activities of daily living) such as feeding themselves, keeping up with hygiene, or getting themselves dressed. Other reasons for moving may include factors like being unable to keep the house clean, shop for groceries, or take part in other standard daily home maintenance tasks.
With this, seniors will likely require healthcare services or medications. If your chosen assisted community is within the local area, it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep up with usual appointments. However, if you are moving a relative to a different location, it’s best to make sure they’re set up with a new GP as soon as possible prior to them arriving.
Some communities will require paperwork to be signed by your doctor, so book an appointment with their current physician to get an updated health check, as well as getting any documentation signed.
If your senior relative takes medication, it’s important to get these in order prior to the move and provide the community nurses with the prescriptions. Some communities will accept bottled medication, while others will require you to go through the community’s pharmacy, so it’s vital you check these details well in advance.
2. Finding the right moving company
You may find that the assisted community has a list of contacts available to help with moving, with some specializing in those that need help moving to assisted accommodation.
Once you’ve found a company that looks suitable, check online reviews and find out more about their pricing. Moving into assisted living has huge cost impacts, and as such, it’s important to make sure you budget for every last expense.
If your relative has heavy furniture or specialized equipment, make sure your chosen moving company has all the right insurance documents.
3. Packing and Downsizing
Packing will be one of the longest parts of the moving process. Throughout our lives, we will collect and accumulate a lot of unnecessary stuff. When moving into assisted living, it’s likely there will be some level of downsizing required. Therefore, approaching the packing process with an organized and rational mind will help.
Family heirlooms and personal precious possessions should be kept together in a safe place. Meanwhile, everyday necessities such as toiletries, medications, clothing, and bedding should be prioritized. Once these are packed, you can move on to other items, such as books, films, puzzles, and any other hobby pieces.
To help with the process, you can seek help from a senior living moving specialist. These are professional aides that can help to review the new living quarters to assess what should be brought and what needs to be left behind. For those items that are left, specialists can also provide support for setting up estate sales, as well as coordinating the moving company and staging the new apartment. Senior living moving specialists are great for reducing stress and pressure for the family.
4. Bills and Post
Bills for utilities will likely be included in the rent at their new apartment, so canceling any current bills can be done well in advance to avoid having to pay out of contracts at the last minute.
It’s also worth setting up a mail forwarding system so that any post that goes to the old home can be quickly redirected to the new apartment. This can be done with USPS online tool.
Lastly, making sure all relatives and friends know the new address will help your senior relative feel less isolated and lonely when they arrive in their new home. As a nice gesture, ask relatives to send over housewarming cards to the new property.
5. Last-minute tasks
With all of this, you’re almost ready for the move. However, there are a few last-minute things to organize beforehand.
Make sure community staff have all the paperwork they require, and medication schedules have been set in place. If your relative has a risk of falling or suffers from mobility issues, purchase an emergency pendant. These pendants can provide an invaluable level of reassurance for you and your family – if an accident does occur and nobody is around, seniors can use the pendant to contact emergency services.
If the new apartment comes with a landline or requires a gate code or pass, request copies of the contact details and codes for the family. That way, if there is an emergency or someone needs to check on your elderly parent, they can do so easily.
Finally, discussing end-of-life options should be considered. This is a really difficult topic for everyone involved, and although family members are moving into assisted living, end of life could still be years away. But power of attorney, living wills, and estate planning are all something to start discussing. Any plans should also be provided to community staff in case of an unfortunate scenario.
This breakdown will enable you and your family to feel less overwhelmed during the moving process. Breaking down each task or designating certain tasks to other people will help keep things running smoothly. Moving family into assisted accommodation can be really emotional for everyone involved. But it can also bring a huge level of independence and positivity. So, while the journey might be stressful, the outcome will benefit everyone.