How to Prepare a Loved One for a Move to Assisted Living

For many older adults and family members, the time may eventually come to discuss a move to a senior living or assisted living community. Whether the move is for enhanced social opportunities or additional levels of care, it can be a difficult conversation to have. For some, they may look forward to a move immensely; for other older adults, it may take significant consideration, making it a slower process. Either way, however, many find they wish they’d made a move sooner.

Signs It’s Time to Make a Move to an Assisted Living Community

Are you wondering if it’s time for your loved one to make a move to assisted living? Check out these signs that a move may be beneficial:

  • Your loved one needs support with activities of daily living, like dressing, bathing or medication management.
  • They are feeling isolated in their own home.
  • The search for home care is becoming exhausting.
  • Your loved one requires more support than you can provide at home.
  • They prefer to receive care from someone who is not a family member.

Preparing for a Move to Assisted Living: Tips To Support a Loved One

How can you best prepare a loved one for a move to assisted living? First, it’s important to realize it’s a process that requires preparation before the move, during the move and even afterward. Try our tips to help guide you through every step of the journey.

Before the Move

If you are going to be talking to a loved one about moving to an assisted living community, it’s a good idea to gauge their interest first. Use their answers to the questions below to guide your conversation. Be respectful of their thoughts and opinions, but also remember to be honest about your concerns about them remaining at home. Above all, be sure that the conversation remains calm and pleasant; if it moves in another direction, revisit the discussion at a later time.

  • Are they eager to move?
  • Do they have any concerns about a move?
  • Do they feel that they would benefit from additional support?
  • Do they have a specific community in mind?

It’s always a good idea to tour a variety of assisted living communities. Each has a different atmosphere, services may vary – and your loved one may not feel at home at every community you tour. Make a list, schedule some visits, and evaluate each according to your loved one’s wishes and preferences.

Once you’ve set the location of the move and your loved one is ready to take the next step, it’s time to start the packing and downsizing process. Before diving into this step, however, it’s best to keep yourself on track by creating a moving checklist. This won’t just help you stay organized, but it can also prevent the need to remember everything off the top of your head. Make sure this list is in a prominent place that all eyes can see.

On the checklist, write out some things you are going to need, including:

  • Moving supplies, like lifting equipment and hand trucks, if you aren’t hiring a mover. If you need help moving larger items, a moving truck can help.
  • Packing supplies, like moving boxes, packing paper and foam, bubble wrap and packing tape.
  • Essential items to remember when packing belongings, like clothing, medications, hobby items and family photos.
  • Important goal dates, ensuring you’re on time with the moving process.

During the Downsizing Process

As the move inches closer and you begin the process of moving in, refer back to your checklist to make sure you have everything you need. Then, it’s time to start downsizing. We know that the process can feel overwhelming, but with these tips, it will be easier.

  • Make a list of where you want to begin. Some choose to tackle the smaller spaces, like closets, first. Others like to begin downsizing larger living spaces.
  • If you have help, ask others to take care of spaces that you know won’t be difficult to go through so you can cross those off the list. Otherwise, make sure to tackle one room at a time to reduce clutter.
  • Evaluate what needs to stay and what needs to go. For example, if you know your loved one will not need their large collection of kitchen tools, pack those away to donate or to give to a family member.
  • Consider renting a dumpster so you can toss any necessary items versus starting a pile.
  • Designate someone to take items to the donation center daily so that those items are out of the way.
  • As you pack, carefully label boxes that will be taken with you so you know where to put them when unpacking in their new assisted living community.

Moving Day

When the day finally arrives, focus on settling your loved one in, helping them get comfortable, and ensuring they have everything they need in their new space. To make move-in day go smoother:

  • Pack the moving truck or your cars the night before.
  • Enjoy breakfast together.
  • Complete any finishing touches on packing.
  • Provide support for your loved one if needed.
  • Invite friends or family to unpack with you.
  • Decorate right away, if possible, to make their space feel more like home.

After the Move

Once your loved one is settled in, there are still things you can do to help them feel more at home.

  • Introduce yourself and your loved one to neighbors.
  • Schedule extra times to come visit.
  • Check in with their care team to see how they are adjusting.
  • Point out events on the community’s schedule they might enjoy.
  • Periodically ask how your loved one is feeling.
  • Encourage them to get involved.

Over time, your loved one will feel more at home, and you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing they are safe, engaged and well-cared for. If you would like to learn more about moving to assisted living or to schedule a visit at Waterstone of Lexington, contact us today.


Waterstone of Lexington – opening fall 2022 – will offer a modern approach to retirement living in a historical setting with concierge services and impressive amenities. Come see how we redefine independent living and assisted living with a visit to our Welcome Center in Belmont.