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Moving into a retirement care home: What to pack

The packing process may be the most difficult stage in the entire transition into a retirement or care home. Objects can hold many, many memories, and elders may resist letting anything go. Usually, if a retirement home offers transitional services, staff will be available to come to the home of the prospective resident and assist with deciding what will stay and what will come with them, even help arrange what will be done with the possessions left behind.

When you actually start packing, make sure you have all the supplies you need. Storage bins, plastic bags, garbage bags, labels and markers are all useful tools in staying organized during this intensive task. Make separate piles for items to be donated, sold, given away, thrown out, or kept, as well as a “Maybe” pile. Tackle one room at a time (ending with the kitchen, the room that requires the most stringent decisions as it is the smallest in the new home), but don’t feel like you need to do everything at once. But always make sure your elder feels in control and has the final say. It seems intimidating, but with hard work, focus, and organization, the packing process can be freeing and relatively stress-free.

It is unlikely that your elder’s entire wardrobe will fit in their new accommodations, so more decisions will be needed here. Clothing can be a comfort in new surroundings, so make sure favourite items are packed. Check with the home beforehand to see if there are any requirements that need to be taken into account, like material restrictions and laundering services. Also consider sewing a nametag into the clothing to ensure the pieces don’t get lost in the laundry. Unpacked clothing can easily be donated to a worthy cause or to other needy residents at the home.

ElderCare Online has a suggested list of items to pack when moving into an assisted or care focused retirement home.

WOMEN - Clothing:

  • 5 dresses, and/or 8 back-snap dresses if incontinent
  • 5 changes of underwear, or 8 if incontinent
  • 6 pairs of knee-highs, socks or stockings
  • 2 paris of slippers
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 3 paris of pajamas or gowns, or 6 if incontinent
  • 2 robes
  • 3 sweaters
  • 1 coat and hat/scarf

WOMEN - Personal Care Items:

  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Body Lotion
  • Powder
  • Shampoo
  • Hairpins and Roller (if used)
  • Brush and comb
  • Make-up or cosmetics (if used)
  • Writing materials
  • Small standing cosmetic mirror for table

MEN - Clothing

  • 5 pants/shirts, 8 if incontinent
  • 2 changes of underwear, 8 if incontinent
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 8 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of slippers
  • 3 pairs of pajamas, 6 if incontinent
  • 2 robes
  • 3 sweaters
  • 1 coat and hat/scarf

MEN - Personal Care Items

  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Body Lotion
  • Powder
  • Shampoo
  • Shaving equipment
  • Brush and comb

 


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