If a family member or a loved one has dementia or other cognitive impairments, there are certainly challenges involved. A memory care community can improve not only the senior’s quality of life, but that of their family and friends as well. Thorough planning for the move to a memory care community is key to ensuring a smooth, stress-free, and comfortable transition.
A memory care packing list is important for easing discomfort and challenges inherent in moving a family member into a care facility. We’ve put together a memory care move-in checklist to help make the task easier. And if you have any outstanding questions about memory care, a memory care checklist, or how you can enrich the life of your loved one needing care, feel free to reach out to us.
Tips for Navigating a Memory Care Move with Ease
Moving is never easy, and moving a loved one with cognitive impairments can be more challenging. Before we dive into our memory care packing list, we’ve compiled a few extra tips to make the move as easy as possible.
Consider Your Downsizing Strategy
Before you begin moving your loved one in your chosen memory care community, consider what you’re going to bring and what you’re going to leave. This can be one of the most difficult aspects of moving a loved one into memory care.
It’s valuable to consider this downsizing strategy before you start on your memory care move-in checklist to ensure you keep what matters and don’t get hung up on what doesn’t.
Begin the Move Early
It’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed during a move, especially when moving a loved one’s things. Starting as early as possible and taking it a day at the time can make the enormous project feel more manageable. Begin with the harder areas (the basement, garage, or closets), then move on to the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms for a smooth and easy finish.
Feel Free to Donate Things
If possible, ask your loved one if there’s anything they would like to donate to specific people or organizations. It’s also worth asking if there’s anything they would like to keep. Keeping valued possessions in the family or with friends can help ease the moving process.
You can also consider the “one-year rule” with your loved one’s belongings. If your loved one hasn’t used an item within a year, there’s a small likelihood they’ll need or want it in their new memory care home. Sort through keepsakes and normal household items to help determine what can easily be donated and what you may need to keep.
Consider Decorating the New Home
While a modern memory care facility will have its own design style and living spaces, you should feel free to bring some extra decorations for your loved one’s space to help them feel more at ease. The interior environment has a big effect on those dealing with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of cognitive dysfunction. You can help orient your loved one and make them feel more at home by personalizing their room with their favorite meaningful decorations.
Reach Out for Help When Needed
You don’t have to manage the task of moving your loved one all on your own. Reach out for professional help or assistance from family and friends whenever it gets to be too much stress for you. A senior move manager can help throughout the moving process as well.
Memory Care Checklist for Moving a Loved One
When putting together a memory care packing list for your loved one, always remember that choosing things your loved one finds comforting is the first step. This could mean a physical comfort item (a favorite blanket or pillow) or a photo album of the family.
Another important part of building a memory care checklist is speaking with the memory care community. They can help you understand the basics of what your loved one will need, the size of their living space, and anything that might not be allowed in the community. They may also be able to give you specific tips on what items will support your loved one’s therapies or might hinder them.
It’s worth noting that many seniors affected by dementia have a challenging time adjusting to new routines and environments. You can help make this adjustment easier by including things that will lessen the emotional impact of moving. You might even go to the new facility and put up familiar pictures and decorations before your loved one moves in.
Memory Care Packing List: Things That Feel Like Home
Memory care facilities do what they can to make their communities feel like home, but they can’t necessarily make your loved one’s space feel like their home. One of the best things you can do is bring some of their favorite things to make their new living space comfortable and welcoming. These could include:
- Favorite pillows and blankets
- A favorite chair
- A photo album
- Framed family photos
- Preferred decorations such as artwork, rugs, or lamps
- Non-toxic houseplants
- Favorite lotions, oils, or balms
- Favorite comfortable clothing items
Memory Care Packing List: Things for Entertainment
Memory care facilities do provide a certain amount of specialized activities for their residents to help keep them occupied, entertained, and happy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring things to enrich their living conditions even more. Making sure your loved one has all the things they love to do can help delay memory problems and improve their quality of life. Pack things like:
- Books (especially large print or photos that focus on favorite pastimes, topics, or places)
- A TV for their favorite movies and shows
- Simple puzzles and games
- A speaker to play their favorite music
- A senior-friendly tablet for entertainment and communication
- Items for their favorite indoor-friendly games
- Items for their favorite hobbies (paints, musical instruments, games, etc.)
Memory Care Packing List: Things to Wear
When your loved one moves into a memory care facility, they’re allowed to bring their own wardrobe. As you put together your packing list, don’t forget to include things they like to wear, clothes they need, and clothes they might need. Keep in mind that some seniors struggle to dress, so you want to make sure they have some adaptive, easy clothing to make their daily life easier. Some items you may want to include:
- Comfortable, cozy pajamas
- Comfortable loungewear
- Clothing they need for preferred hobbies (golf gloves, painting smock, etc.)
- Warm socks
- Non-slip shoes (avoid laces to help prevent trips and falls)
- Clothing with easy fasteners (pants and shirts with velcro closures or without complicated buttons)
- Rain jacket or coat
- Hat and gloves
- Robe and slippers
- A shoehorn
Memory Care Packing List: Daily Necessities
Keep in mind that even though your loved one is moving into a memory care facility, they still have their normal daily needs. Here are some things to include on your packing list that your loved one will need every day:
- Purse or wallet
- Hearing aids
- Canes, walkers, or wheelchairs
Memory Care Packing List: Kitchenware
If your loved one has access to a kitchen or even a kitchenette in their memory care facility, they may want some kitchen supplies. Always make sure first, however, that it is safe for them to use the available kitchen area and supplies, and they won’t cause any harm. Consider including the following items:
- Favorite tea or coffee
- A selection of plates, cups, mugs, bowls, and utensils
- Coffee maker
- Cleaning supplies (broom, dustpan, multipurpose cleaners, stain removers, paper towels, dish soap, etc.)
Memory Care Packing List: Pet Supplies
If your loved one’s new facility allows pets and your senior plans to bring a pet with them, make sure to include everything they might need for their pet. To ensure their pet feels at home, too, consider packing the following:
- Pet food
- Pet treats
- A crate
- A litter box and scoop
- Food and water bowls
- Collar and leash
- Pet medication
How Can New Perspective Help?
When putting together a memory care packing list, make sure to think through anything your loved one uses regularly as well as anything they love. Check with the memory care facility for guidance on what you can or cannot bring. If you’re looking for a senior living community to fit your or your loved one’s needed, contact New Perspective. We can help you find a great home for your senior that supports and enriches their quality of life.