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Moving to Assisted Living Checklist: A Simple Guide for a Smooth Transition

Whether you’re looking for extra support with daily tasks, a bigger social circle, or the peace of mind that comes with quality senior care, moving to senior living promises a fulfilling new chapter.

Let this Moving to Assisted Living checklist guide you as you find your ideal community and settle comfortably into your new home.

Step 1: Finding the Right Community for You

Choosing the right assisted living community is a big decision, and it’s all about finding the place that’s perfect for you! Research your options to discover a community that supports your needs, celebrates your personality, and offers a fulfilling lifestyle. Here’s how 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. 
  • Amenities for Wellness: At Autumn Leaves, your well-being is our priority. That’s why we offer our complimentary Health & Wellness Navigation Program™. Your personal Wellness Navigator is there from day one, tailoring support to your individual needs, coordinating care, and giving you peace of mind.
  • 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.

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.

Our assisted living floor plans at Autumn Leaves are thoughtfully designed to prioritize accessibility, safety and style. You’ll find features such as spacious rooms with ample natural light, and private bathrooms. 

With convenient amenities just outside your door, our well-appointed residences ensure you can enjoy a fulfilling and comfortable lifestyle without sacrificing the comforts of home.

Ask Questions

This is your chance to learn everything you need. Discuss topics like cost, service levels, activities, staffing ratios, policies, and any other important factors. 

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: Giving Yourself Time To Downsize

Saying goodbye to a home filled with memories can be an emotional experience. But remember, it’s also the start of an exciting new adventure! Here’s how to make the downsizing process easier:

Start Early

Giving yourself plenty of time is key to reducing stress. The sooner you begin sorting through your belongings, the less overwhelming it will feel when moving day gets closer.

Sort Your Belongings Into Groups

Your new home in assisted living is a fresh start. Prioritize 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, making the process faster and less emotionally draining. They can help you with sorting, packing, lifting heavy items, or simply provide moral support.

Tip: Take photos of items you’re letting go of. This helps you preserve those precious memories without needing to keep the physical object.

senior lady with caregiver going down stairs

Step 3: Taking Care of Important Details

While the logistical aspects of moving to assisted living may feel less exciting than choosing your new community, addressing these details carefully is essential for a smooth and successful transition. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • 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.

Need more information to guide your senior living journey? Explore our collection of articles, guides, and checklists on senior living and well-being on our Resource Page.

Step 4: Moving In – Welcome Home!

Move-in day is the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in assisted living! It’s a day to celebrate the fresh start, new possibilities, and the support you’ll receive in your new community.  

Here are some tips to help you feel organized, relaxed, and ready to embrace the day:

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 day can be busy, but remember to drink plenty of water. Pack a water bottle to keep with you, and consider asking friends, family or movers to remind you to take breaks for hydration.

Step 5: Settling In and Making 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 transition, and a mix of emotions is perfectly normal. Remember, you’re not alone in this! Alongside personalized support and new friendships, discover the freedom to focus on what you enjoy, leaving daily worries behind.

senior ladies in exercise class

Say Goodbye to Worries and Hello to the Possibilities at Autumn Leaves

Unlock a fulfilling retirement at Autumn Leaves! Enjoy personalized care, a vibrant community, and endless possibilities for a worry-free lifestyle. Contact us to schedule your visit and start exploring your exciting new future.