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What Should Your Senior Loved One Bring to Assisted Living in Dallas, TX?

a packed suitcase and packing list for senior living

You’ve taken a big step in helping your loved one get the care they need by choosing assisted living. But now, it’s time to get ready for the move. No matter the situation, moving to a new home can seem overwhelming. This is especially true when downsizing and trying to figure out what to bring to assisted living.

However, with a little preparation, you can make the move as stress-free as possible. In the weeks before their move-in date, start a moving checklist and make a plan. Then, when the day comes, you’ll be ready to help your loved one get settled in.

Getting Prepared

It’s best to start planning for your loved one’s move several weeks in advance. Depending on your loved one’s current home, there may be many steps you need to take before moving day. In order to make it feel less daunting, break these steps up into small tasks each day.

As you plan out a schedule, consider these factors:

  • Pick which rooms to sort, organize, and pack each week. Even more, be sure to schedule yourself or other family members to be there in person to help your loved one.
  • For heirlooms or other valuable items that aren’t going with your loved one, plan when and where these will move.
  • If you’re downsizing, include a garage sale on your schedule. Also, schedule services like bulk trash pickup or donation drop-offs.
  • Get a moving company on the schedule early. Consider picking less busy times, like mid-week, if possible.
  • Plan a special time to say goodbye to your loved one’s old home.
  • If selling your loved one’s home, talk through the timing of the sale. For instance, is the home ready to go on the market now? Do you need to make repairs? Would you rather wait until after your loved one has time to settle into assisted living?

Sorting and Packing

To begin with, get a copy of your loved one’s new floor plan. This can help you decide ahead of time where furniture will go and what pieces may no longer fit. You can also look at ways to arrange your loved one’s new place in a similar way to their current home.

From there, make a checklist of essentials, as well as special or sentimental items, that you know your loved one will want to bring to assisted living. Many families then sort or label items into groups. For example, the AARP suggests using six labels—move, sell, toss, donate, up for grabs, and pass along.

Some Essential Items You’ll Want to Bring to Assisted Living Include:


  • Bed
  • Nightstand
  • Dresser
  • Chairside table
  • Recliner/chair
  • Television
  • Shower chair

Linens and Household

  • Waterproof mattress cover with zipper that encases the mattress
  • Mattress pad
  • A few sets of towels and washcloths
  • Shower curtain and rings
  • A few sets of sheets
  • Pillows
  • Bedspread, comforter, or blanket
  • Laundry basket or hamper
  • Laundry detergent or spot remover
  • Small trash can
  • Bathroom rug
  • Paper products, such as toilet paper, tissue, and paper towels
  • A few favorite kitchen essentials (depending on your loved one’s ability and desire to cook), such as pots, pans, plates, cups, and utensils


  • Undergarments and socks
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Slippers
  • Pajamas
  • Housecoat or robe
  • Winter items, such as a jacket, gloves, and hat
  • A week’s worth of casual, comfortable clothes for warm and cold weather, such as long and short-sleeve shirts, pants, sweaters, or sweatsuits
  • A couple of dress pants, skirts, dresses, or other dressy outfits if desired

Personal Care

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, or denture care
  • Hand soap
  • Body wash
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Cologne
  • Hair care, such as brush/comb/pick, hair accessories, or hair dryer
  • Shaver for men
  • Incontinence supplies, such as briefs, wipes, and bed pads (cream If needed)
  • Vitamins or over-the-counter medications

Sentimental or Decorative Items

You don’t want to bring expensive or large collections of items to assisted living. However, a few well-planned items can go a long way in helping your loved one feel at home. As you pack, start a single box with these meaningful items, such as books, pictures, or small decorative pieces. On your loved one’s first day at their new place, unpack this box so they have familiar items from the start.

Ready to Help Your Loved One Have a Smooth Move-In Day

Still have questions about what your loved one needs for assisted living in Dallas, TX? Our team at Autumn Leaves is here for you. We’ve helped hundreds of residents settle in and feel at home. Contact us today to learn more about our floor plans and amenities or get answers to your questions.