Comprehensive Master Checklist for Moving to Assisted Living

No one enjoys the prospect of preparing, packing, and moving. When a senior is moving from a residence that he or she likely has occupied for an extended period, moving to assisted living can be particularly daunting. In this article, we provide you with a comprehensive master checklist to assist you in moving to assisted living. We begin this comprehensive master checklist two months out from your day or move to the day you leave your current residence and move into your new assisted living home.

Eight Weeks Before Moving to Assisted Living

Preparing to move to an assisted living community begins about two months before the anticipated actual move date. Several different tasks need to be addressed or undertaken at this eight-week mark that includes:

  • If you are moving into an apartment in an assisted living community, ask the staff for a copy of the floor plan. You will find it helpful to note the locations of electric and cable outlets. Also, ensure the floor plan has measurements for each room in your new space. Use this floor plan to determine what furniture will fit and where it will be placed. This will be valuable when deciding what furniture to take to your new assisted living home.
  • Obtain quotes from moving companies. Talk with the staff at the assisted living communities on your list for recommendations and to see if they have any moving companies that offer discounts. It’s a good idea to create a list of questions to ask each of the moving companies you meet with. Also, ensure that the assisted living community you will soon call home does not maintain a list of authorized moving companies. There are instances in which an assisted living community has a list of moving companies they prefer people to use when moving in and out of a facility.  
  • Price nearby storage facilities. You may need to temporarily rent extra storage space during and for a time after the moving process. That will give you time to figure out what you do and do not need regarding items in your home. Storage also gives you more time to sell or give away possessions they won’t have room to keep after moving. Find a climate-controlled storage unit if you’re storing anything sensitive to temperature.
  • Keeping track of where belongings and furniture are going as you sort and downsize can easily become overwhelming. Before you get started, create an inventory worksheet to note the final destination of all items, such as the assisted living community, an adult child’s home, storage, or donation for charity. This will make controlling your property far easier before, during, and after the moving process.
  • If you are moving out of your current area, you would want to begin looking for new doctors, a pharmacy, and any other medical suppliers you may utilize. This includes a new dentist as well. It can sometimes take a month or more to get a new patient appointment with a physician, so this needs to be a priority as you plan your move to an assisted living community.
  • You will also want to begin stocking up on moving supplies you’ll need to pack up your home at the eight-week mark. That means you will want to obtain boxes, tape, bubble wrap, labels, trash bags, markers, and so forth.

Six to Seven Weeks Before Moving to Assisted Living

The pace of work associated with your move to assisted living begins to pick up during the six to seven weeks before the move period. Examples of what needs to be done during this period include:

  • Begin the process of cleaning out your home. You will also want to begin packing for your move. This is often the task most overwhelms a person moving to assisted living. Moving experts with backgrounds in need to downsize often suggest people begin packing in the rooms used least often and from there.
  • If you struggle to start this part of the process, connecting with a senior move manager might be helpful. These professionals can assist with all phases of a move. A database of these types of professionals is available from the National Association of Specialty and Senior Move Managers or NASMM.
  • Investigate organizations that accept furniture and other household items you will no longer need. Some will even come to the home to pick them up.
  • This is also a good time to consider whether you should have a yard or garage sale. If you have lived in your home a long time or if it’s a large place, there will likely be a good many items that will not make the transition to the assisted living community.

Four to Five Weeks Before Moving to Assisted Living

The work on your move to assisted living continues at a good clip as you near the one month before your move mark. There are several highly important steps that you need to take at this juncture in advance of your move to assisted living:

  • If the senior has a house to sell, it’s probably a good idea to start exploring real estate agents. Ask people you know and trust for suggestions. You can also search for a Senior Real Estate Specialist or SRES on the National Association of REALTORS® website. These professionals undergo additional training to best support older adults and their families through this transition.
  • Make arrangements to cancel utility services, including electric, gas, cable, and phone.
  • Identify and pack valuable items you can bring to the assisted living community instead of sending them to the moving company.
  • Start the change-of-address process with creditors, health insurance providers, family, and friends.
  • Order checks with the senior’s new address on them.

Two to Three Weeks Before Moving to Assisted Living

By the time you are at two to three weeks before your scheduled move to assisted living, you certainly are in the proverbial home stretch. At this point in the process, more key steps need to be taken that include:

  • Finalize the moving date and arrival time with the assisted living community.
  • Confirm the moving date with the moving company, estate sales professional, storage facility, the charity picking up donations, and other organizations involved.
  • Decide on a real estate agent and meet with them to create a plan for listing and marketing your home.
  • Visit the United States Postal Service at this link: Official USPS Change-of-Address. On this webpage, you can arrange to have mail forwarded to the new address.
  • Talk with the clinical team at the retirement community to see how medications are handled. You’ll likely need to ensure at least a 10-day supply of prescription and over-the-counter medications, especially if the senior will be changing pharmacies.
  • Plan meals and snacks for the days leading up to the move. Be sure to plan for the friends and family assisting you.
  • If you have not done so already, take time to participate in some activities at the assisted living community where you will be moving soon.

One Week Before Moving to Assisted Living

  • Finish packing as much as possible. Create a suitcase of personal care items you will need on moving day. This should include medications, toiletries, sheets, and towels.
  • Use up items in the refrigerator and freezer. Clean out items you won’t be taking to the senior’s apartment.
  • Check all cabinets, closets, and drawers to ensure nothing is left behind.
  • Organize a cooler with snacks and beverages for moving day.
  • Confirm final moving arrangements and new address with the moving company and the staff at the assisted living community.

Moving Day to Assisted Living

  • Strip the beds and pack bedding, towels, and laundry.
  • Finish packing the cooler and suitcases.
  • Pack valuables and supplies that will be going with you in the car.
  • Put the trash out or ask a neighbor to do this on trash day.
  • Make sure all appliances are turned off or unplugged.
  • Try to relax and avoid sweating the small stuff. There will likely be unexpected issues, despite your best efforts at planning.

By following this comprehensive master assisted living move checklist, you will be better able to manage and get through all aspects of this major transition. You will make the overall process of moving to assisted living far easier for you.