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Creating a Timeline for Helping a Senior Move to Assisted Living

Assisting a senior loved one who is downsizing their home and moving to an assisted living community can feel thoroughly overwhelming. In fact, adult children often say that the moving process keeps a senior from relocating sooner.

From cleaning out the attic to hiring a moving company, there are many details to manage. To make the process go more smoothly, it is helpful to use a moving timeline.

The following schedule describes important tips to better prepare for moving day.

8-Week Timeline for Moving to an Assisted Living Community

Eight Weeks Prior to the Move:

  • Obtain quotes from moving companies. Talk with staff at the assisted living communities on your list for suggestions and recommendations.

  • Acquire a floor plan with measurements of the senior’s new space. Use it to determine what furniture will fit and where it will be placed. Don’t forget to notice the placement of electronic and cable outlets!

  • Price nearby storage facilities. You may need to rent space temporarily until you are able to re-home possessions they won’t have room for after their move.

  • Create an inventory worksheet to track the final destination of all furniture and belongings.

  • Start looking for new doctors and a local pharmacy for your family member if they are making a long-distance move.

  • Begin stocking up on packing supplies, such as boxes, tape, and bubble wrap.

Six-to-Seven Weeks Prior to the Move:

  • Begin the process of decluttering and cleaning out unneeded items.

  • Start packing rooms that are used less often as suggested by Senior Move Managers often suggest beginning in least-used rooms of the home.

  • Investigate non-profit organizations that pick up furniture and other household items for donation.

  • Interview and hire an estate sale company if you believe your family member will need one.

  • Make a final decision about the company you want to hire and schedule a moving date.

Four-to-Five Weeks Prior to the Move:

  • Ask friends and family members for real estate agent recommendations. You can also search for a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)on the National Association of Realtors website. These are professionals trained to work with older adults and their families.

  • Make arrangements to cancel utility services, including electric, gas, cable, and phone.

  • Identify and pack valuable items that you can bring to the assisted living community in lieu of sending with 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 Prior to the Move:

  • Confirm dates with the moving company, estate sale professional, and storage facility.

  • Decide on a real estate agent and meet with them to create a plan for listing and marketing the home.

  • Visit the United States Postal Service Official USPS Change of Address page online to arrange to have mail forwarded to the new address.

  • Finish relocating items that won’t be needed in the senior’s new apartment at the assisted living community.

  • Finalize the moving date and arrival time with the assisted living community.

  • Make sure the senior has a least a ten-day supply of prescription medications, especially if they are changing pharmacies.

  • Plan meals for the days leading up to the move and for moving day. Be sure to include the friends and family who will be assisting you.

  • Bring your senior loved one to visit the assisted living community for a meal or activity to ease the adjustment process.

One Week Prior to the Move:

  • Finish packing the senior’s home and, if possible, arrange for your loved one to stay with a friend or family member the night before the move.

  • Pack a box with items your senior will need immediately after their arrival at the assisted living community, such as a coffee pot and supplies, snacks, paper towels, and toilet paper.

  • Start a suitcase of personal-care items your family member will need on moving day, like medications, toiletries, sheets, and towels.

  • Ask a friend or family member to take your loved one out to lunch on moving day. It may be easier for them to avoid watching the movers load the truck and drive away.

Two Days Prior to the Move:

  • Clean out the refrigerator and freezer.

  • Check all cabinets, closets, and drawers to make sure nothing is left behind.

  • Organize a cooler with food and beverages for moving day.

  • Confirm moving arrangements and new address with the moving company.

  • Verify your arrival time with the staff at the assisted living community.

Moving Day:

  • Strip beds and pack linens.

  • Finish packing the cooler and suitcases.

  • Load the car with valuable items and overnight supplies.

  • Put the trash out or ask a neighbor to do this on trash day.

  • Make sure all appliances are off.

  • Relax and do your best. Try not to sweat the small problems that often pop up on moving day!

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