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Memory Care Move-In Checklist for Caregivers

February 15, 2024

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Preparing your parent who has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia for the transition into a memory care community can be challenging. Even if you’ve researched communities, taken tours, and found the perfect community for your family member, there’s still that one final step — moving in. You only want the best for your parent, and moving them into memory care can help improve their quality of life and allow them to live joyfully. 

You know how important it is for your parent to feel at home. But from moving furniture to buying new items, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the moving process. While the pressure of setting your parent up for success is justified, you don’t have to go through it alone. Our team at Franciscan Ministries is here to bring some clarity and organization to the process with a helpful checklist. This way, you can have peace of mind during this process and know your parent is starting off their new life on the right foot.

Planning the Moving Process

Moving a parent to a memory care community will go much smoother if you and your family do some work upfront. The first step is ensuring you and your family take time to visit the community and apartment your loved one will call home. Memory care communities like Franciscan Ministries will work with you to find the apartment layout that best meets your parents’ unique needs.

Treat this transition like any other time that you’ve helped someone move, or use any prior moving experience that you’ve had in the past to help you plan accordingly. Think about all the typical preparations that any person would take as they start to pack their belongings, hire movers and determine other logistic processes. 

Whether you use professional movers or handle it with your family, having this set beforehand can save you from some major headaches. Start by creating a list of each task you know you’ll have to complete before a certain date, and most importantly, plan out this move in advance to ensure you’ll have enough time to prepare.

Your Memory Care Moving Checklist

1. Identify Your Family Member’s Most Important Possessions

When it comes to memory care, your parent has items that will help them stay connected to their unique past. Whether it’s a family heirloom or an item they’ve had for decades, you’ll want to make sure possessions like this are brought with them to their new home. 

Adding these special touches to your parents’ new living space can truly make a world of difference during their initial transition to memory care by providing comfort and familiarity to a new place that they aren’t quite used to yet. 

It might be helpful to ask the team members at your loved one’s new community if you can begin to incorporate some of their favorite decorations or belongings into their new living space a few days before they officially move in. This will ensure that as they arrive on their first day in their new home, they’ll open their front door and be greeted by the special touches they enjoyed in their previous home.

Create a list of these items before you begin the packing or downsizing process to ensure you have easy access to them.

2. Set Your Floor Layout and Furniture Needs

Take a look at the senior apartment your parent will move into, comparing the space to their current furniture and identifying any gaps or excess. This will make it easy to buy any additional furniture that might be needed or know what you can safely sell, donate, give to other family members or throw out. It’s important for your parent to have their own furniture since it helps create a home-like feel that will enable them to reach a higher level of wellness. 

Remember that the moving process is overwhelming for any person, especially when it comes to planning out the way that you’ll display your furniture and other belongings. However, it can be especially overwhelming for your parent, who might be experiencing more drastic changes to their cognitive health. Routines and familiarity are crucial aspects of dementia care, as they can help someone living with a form of dementia easily recognize their surroundings and avoid any moments of confusion. 

Keeping that in mind, plan your parent’s new apartment layout in a way that will look similar to their current home. This can involve anything from hanging pictures or other decorations in similar placements to their current home or making sure that the furniture in their space will be placed in the same layout they’re already used to. 

You’ll also want to get in touch with their chosen community to determine which floor plan would be most suitable for your loved one, especially if they have experienced any falls or mobility challenges that could be exacerbated by a floor plan that’s difficult for them to navigate.

3. Sort Your Loved One’s Belongings

Take the time to sort your parent’s belongings. An easy way to streamline this process is to sort them by their end destination. Create “move,” “charity,” “family” and “trash” piles for any items in your family member’s home. As you walk through your parent’s current home, place any items you find into one of those categories so that you aren’t bringing an excess of clutter or unnecessary items to your loved one’s new living space.

It can also be beneficial to invite close family and friends to help with the process of sorting through furniture, clothes and other items in your parent’s home. Having a supportive group of people lending a helping hand can make the process go by quickly and seamlessly while providing a great opportunity to gather together and reminisce about your favorite memories. Whether you take a few moments to go through family photo albums or simply talk about fun stories from the past, it’s a cathartic way to begin this new transition. 

4. Create a Moving Plan/Schedule

It’s important for you to create a moving plan for your parent. Work with the memory care community to find a convenient moving date or determine if there is an assigned move-in date that they want you to abide by. 

Planning this move around busy moving times or periods in which moving companies might have higher prices is also essential. Many Americans decide to move during mid-May to mid-September, which is widely known as the peak moving season. For example, families with younger children and college students with class schedules tend to choose this time to transition to new homes to avoid any problems with school attendance or assignment deadlines. 

Aside from this specific peak season, the most popular days of the week to move are weekends and at the end of the month, so it might be helpful to schedule your memory care move during mid-week to avoid any higher moving rates. 

Once you have a firm date, create a timeline to help everything stay on schedule. It could be incredibly helpful to find a large calendar to place in your parent’s home in a place where they’ll see it on a regular basis so that they can stay up to date on the moving process and you can both be on the same page every step of the way to avoid any challenges or miscommunications. 

5. Put Together a Move-In Box

To make this transition easier on your parent, put together a day one move-in box containing essential items they’ll need on their official move-in day. This box should include anything your parent might need right away after their transition before they begin the process of unpacking boxes of clothing or other essentials. For instance, include items like medications, snacks, a change of clothes and essential toiletries.

Including this move-in box in your moving plan will help your parent feel more at home and add comfort during this transition. It can also allow you and your parent to avoid any confusion regarding the location of their most important items. Once you arrive at their new living space to begin moving in, your move-in box should be the first box that you unpack. 

Discover How We Help Memory Care Residents Celebrate Life and Live Joyfully

Our memory care communities focus on providing specialized support for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.  At Franciscan Ministries, we believe everyone has a story to tell, and a dementia diagnosis shouldn’t stop that unique story from continuing. Your parent has their own special experiences and past that make them who they are, and it’s our job to help elevate and celebrate those experiences by providing space for them to continue to grow every day.

Our memory support’s mission is to give your parent more opportunities to improve their quality of life. Every service and amenity is intended to help give residents a sense of purpose. Plus, our memory care communities have a variety of floor plans to choose from. To learn more about what our communities have to offer, visit our website or contact a member of the Franciscan Ministries team.

Updated: February 2024