Estate Planning

Checklist For Moving A Parent To Assisted Living

Retirement center
Trustworthy icon

Joel Lim

Jun 6, 2023

Moving a parent to assisted living is not just about packing up their belongings and finding the right place to live. It involves understanding their needs, making tough decisions, and navigating a complex transition in their lives. 

As you move forward on this journey, it's important to be prepared and have a plan in place to make the move as smooth and stress-free as possible for the sake of your parents. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The most important things to do before moving a parent to assisted living are planning healthcare essentials, choosing a moving company, and getting all the paperwork sorted.

  • Follow practical steps to ensure a smooth transition into assisted living, like downsizing belongings, packing items properly, and coordinating with a moving company.

  • Address common concerns and challenges like parents resisting the move, feelings of guilt, and loss of communication by maintaining regular communication and supporting your parent's adjustment to their new living environment.

Assessing Your Parent's Care Needs

Younger woman pushing older woman in a wheelchair looking out the window

Figuring out if it's time to move your parent(s) to assisted living can be a tough call. 

Here's a quick breakdown of some key questions you can ask yourself to help you understand your elderly parents’ needs and make the best decision for their well-being:

  • Are they having difficulty with daily tasks or managing health issues? 

  • Have their hobbies lost interest, and are they becoming more isolated? 

  • Is their living space cluttered or hard to navigate?

Observe how they manage everyday activities like dressing, bathing, and cooking. Is there a decline in ability that would suggest assisted living might be necessary? 

Consider their social life & emotional state too. 

  • Have they become more isolated or lost interest in the things they once enjoyed? 

Assisted living communities provide numerous opportunities to stay connected with others, which can greatly improve an elderly person’s quality of life. 

Finally, consider their safety at home. 

  • Are there potential risks for falls or accidents that could be prevented through better care and supervision? 

  • Does the house need to be rearranged to make it easier for them to navigate safely? 

Assisted living facilities may offer a comfortable and secure alternative if you're worried about your parent's well-being.

Finding the Right Assisted Living Community

After you've determined that assisted living might be the right choice for your parent(s), finding a community that meets their needs and provides an enjoyable environment is important.

Consider the factors we discussed earlier, like social activities and safety. 

Create a list of your top priorities to guide your search. 

For example, focus on communities that offer assistance with activities of daily living and medication management if your parent struggles with daily tasks or prioritize social interaction if that's a concern.

Then, research and visit multiple communities in your desired location. 

This will help you compare services, amenities, and costs. 

Pay attention to the staff-to-resident ratio and the staff's behavior during your visit. Typically, one staff member per six to eight residents is sufficient. 

Ask questions about their experience, training, and emergency procedures.

Involve your parent(s) in decision-making as much as possible. 

Their comfort and happiness should be your top priority. After carefully evaluating your options and prioritizing your parent's needs, you'll be able to find the perfect assisted living community for them.

Understanding the Costs of Assisted Living

It's important to recognize that assisted living can be a significant financial commitment. 

Costs can vary depending on factors such as the level of care required, location, and the specific amenities offered by the community. Being aware of the estimated costs can help you plan and budget accordingly.

On average, assisted living costs in the United States are around $4,500 per month. 

This typically includes rent, utilities, meals, housekeeping, and assistance with daily activities. Some communities may charge additional fees for specialized care or services, such as memory care or transportation. 

Keep in mind that costs can be higher or lower depending on the region and the facility's reputation. 

It's crucial to thoroughly research and compare different communities to find the one that best suits your parent's needs and budget.

3 Steps Before Moving Your Parents to Assisted Living

Nurse taking an elderly woman's blood pressure

Moving your parents to an assisted living community can be a significant change for the whole family. 

Still, with a bit of planning, you can make the transition smoother and more manageable. 

Planning Healthcare Essentials

Ensuring that your parent(s) have a smooth transition to their new assisted living community includes caring for their healthcare needs. 

This involves scheduling appointments with their existing primary care physician, finding a new doctor if necessary, organizing medications, and addressing any other relevant healthcare concerns.

Some checklist items that will help you plan your parent(s) healthcare essentials:

  • Schedule a final appointment: Arrange a visit with your parent's existing physician to discuss the move and any medical concerns.

  • Find a new doctor: If your parent is moving to a new location, research and select a new primary care physician in that area.

  • Transfer medical records: Request that your parent's medical records be sent to their new healthcare providers.

  • Organize medications: Ensure your parent has an adequate supply of their current medications and a system to manage them.

  • Update emergency contacts: Provide the assisted living community with a list of emergency contacts, including family members and healthcare providers.

  • Discuss specialized care: If your parent requires specialized care, such as physical therapy or diabetes management, coordinate with the assisted living community to arrange necessary services.

  • Plan follow-up appointments: Schedule any necessary follow-up appointments with specialists or other healthcare providers in the new area.

Choosing A Moving Company

Selecting the right moving company is really important for a smooth and stress-free transition to an assisted living community. 

A professional and experienced moving company can handle the challenges and needs of your parents during this process. 

It's important to choose a company that not only provides quality service but also understands the emotional aspects of moving your parent(s) to a new living environment.

To ensure you find the best moving company, follow this checklist:

  • Gather recommendations from friends, family, and the assisted living community.

  • Verify the company's credentials, including DOT number, insurance, and BBB rating.

  • Request written quotes from at least three different companies.

  • Choose a company with experience in senior moves.

  • Look for additional services like packing, unpacking, and senior move management.

  • Request a detailed inventory list of items to be moved.

  • Discuss timelines and confirm the company can accommodate your preferred moving date.

  • Review the contract to understand terms, conditions, and potential additional fees.

  • Inquire about liability and valuation insurance coverage options.

  • Ensure the moving company is responsive and easy to communicate with.

Get All The Paperwork Sorted

Before moving your parent(s) to an assisted living community, it's important to organize and complete all the necessary paperwork to ensure a smooth transition. 

This includes notifying relevant parties of the new residence, transferring prescriptions, and taking care of other administrative tasks. Trustworthy can properly handle these details by securing and organizing your family’s information and can help minimize potential issues and make the move more manageable.

Here are some steps to consider when sorting out the paperwork:

  1. Update the address: Inform family members, friends, financial institutions, healthcare providers, and other relevant parties of your parent's new address.

  2. Transfer medical records: Request copies of your parent's medical records to be sent to their new healthcare providers.

  3. Update insurance information: Notify health, life, and property insurance companies of the change in residence.

  4. Transfer prescriptions: Coordinate with your parent's current and new pharmacies to transfer prescriptions seamlessly.

  5. Forward mail: Request a change of address with the post office to forward mail to the new residence.

4 Steps to Pack Your Parent's Things to Go to Assisted Living

A yonger woman helping an elderly man downsize his space in front of a box and holding a sweater

Taking the time to carefully pack and organize their possessions will not only protect their belongings during the move but also make the process of settling into their new home more comfortable and efficient.

As you prepare to move your parent(s) into an assisted living community, it's essential to have a well-organized plan for packing their belongings.

Sort and Downsize Belongings

The first step in packing for your parent's move to assisted living is to sort through their belongings and decide what to keep, donate, or discard. 

Start by evaluating their new living space’s size and storage capacity to determine how much they can realistically bring with them.

This process can be emotionally challenging, but it's important to balance this practicality. 

Encourage your parent(s) to be involved in the decision-making process and ensure that their feelings and preferences are considered.

Items you should think about getting rid of:

  • Excess clothing, shoes, and accessories

  • Duplicate items (kitchen gadgets, bedding, etc.)

  • Large furniture that won't fit in the new space

  • Expired medications and old medical supplies

  • Old or broken electronics and appliances

  • Collections, knick-knacks, or decorative items with limited sentimental value

  • Unused or outdated hobby supplies

  • Bulky or heavy items that are difficult to move and store

  • Old paperwork, magazines, and books that are no longer needed

  • Items that can be easily replaced or borrowed if needed

Consider this list of essential items as a starting point:

  • Furniture that fits the new space and serves a purpose (bed, dresser, comfortable seating)

  • Important documents (medical records, financial papers, legal documents)

  • Clothing appropriate for the new living environment and climate

  • Personal care items and toiletries

  • Medications and related medical supplies

  • A limited number of sentimental items (family photos, keepsakes)

  • Electronics for communication and entertainment (phone, computer, tablet, TV)

  • Hobbies and activities supplies (books, knitting materials, puzzles)

  • Mobility aids, if needed (walker, cane, wheelchair)

Related: How To Help Hoarder Parent?

Organize and Label Items

Organize and label items by categories, such as clothing or kitchenware. Clearly label each box with the contents and which room it belongs to (e.g., “Kitchen - Dishes”). You can also use color-coded labels for different categories/rooms for easy identification at a glance.

Pack with Care and Safety in Mind

When packing your parents’ belongings, use appropriate materials such as bubble wrap and sturdy boxes to protect fragile or valuable items. 

Take extra care when packing sensitive items like:

  • Glassware and delicate china

  • Fragile collectibles and figurines

  • Antiques and heirlooms

  • Fine art, paintings, and framed photographs

  • Electronics (TVs, computers, tablets, phones)

  • Jewelry and valuable accessories

  • Fragile lamps and light fixtures

Place heavier items in smaller boxes to prevent injury when lifting or moving them. Reinforce the bottom of all boxes with heavy-duty packing tape for additional support.

Coordinate with the Moving Company

If you've decided to use a professional moving company to help with your parent's move to assisted living, it's crucial to coordinate and communicate with them effectively. 

Be sure to discuss any specific packing or moving requirements for valuable or delicate items, such as antiques, fine art, or large appliances, so the movers know the special care these items may need.

Schedule the moving day and time well in advance, and confirm all necessary details. It's also a good idea to inquire about the moving company's insurance coverage for your parent's belongings and consider purchasing additional coverage if needed.

4 Things to Do After Moving Your Parent to Assisted Living

Once they've settled into their new home, it's essential to focus on making the most of this new chapter in their lives. 

Ensure that they have a smooth transition, establish strong connections with the community, and give the necessary support they need in their new environment.

Help Settle Them into Their New Space

One of the first things you should do after moving your parent(s) into their new assisted living home is to help them settle in and create a comfortable, personalized space. 

Having a clear layout plan for your parent's new living space and understanding the community's layout is really important. Creating a plan can minimize confusion, optimize space usage, and ensure that your parent(s) have everything they need within their reach.

Here are some checklist items to help you create an effective layout plan:

  • Request floor plans: Obtain plans for the new living space and the community's common areas.

  • Measure essential furniture: Make sure it fits comfortably and allows for easy movement within the space.

  • Arrange for accessibility: Create clear pathways and minimize fall risks with smart furniture placement.

  • Add personal touches: Include family photos, favorite decorative items, or keepsakes to make the space feel like home.

  • Visit common areas: Familiarize yourself with dining rooms, activity centers, and outdoor spaces within the community.

  • Provide a community map: Offer a simple map or visual guide to help your parent(s) navigate the area.

Get to Know the Staff and Caregivers

Once your parent(s) are settled into their new home, it's important to get to know the staff members and caretakers in the assisted living community. 

Introduce yourself and have a conversation with the people who will be directly involved in your parent's day-to-day care. This can include nurses, aides, activity coordinators, and even dining staff. 

Just a tiny list of priority staff or members you should get to know first:

  • Personal Caregiver

  • Medication Manager

  • Primary Physician or Medical Director

  • Facility Manager 

  • Administrator

  • Activity Coordinator

  • Dining Services Manager or Chef

  • Physical Therapist

  • Occupational Therapist

Familiarize Them with the Community and Amenities

As your parent(s) settle into their new assisted living community, it's important to help them become familiar with the various amenities and resources available to them. 

Take time to explore the community together, visiting key areas such as the dining hall, activity centers, fitness rooms, outdoor spaces, and common areas. 

Encourage your parent(s) to participate in activities, social events, and group programs designed for residents. These experiences not only provide opportunities for them to engage in enjoyable pastimes but also help them build relationships with fellow residents. 

Maintain Regular Communication and Visits

Visiting your elderly parents regularly or maintaining communication with your parent(s) is really important for their emotional well-being and to help them adjust to their new life.

 Staying connected can be done through phone calls, video chats, or in-person visits, depending on your availability and distance.

It can help ease any feelings of loneliness or isolation they may experience during the transition.

Addressing Common Concerns and Challenges

An older man holding a woman's hand

Parent(s) Resisting the Move

Your parents may fear losing independence or adapting to unfamiliar surroundings, which is normal. 

You should try to ease their concerns, involve them in decision-making processes, and discuss benefits like increased safety, socialization opportunities, and professional care services available through assisted living communities.

Feelings of Guilt

You may feel guilty about moving your parent(s) to an assisted living, but remember that the decision is made in their best interest, focusing on their concerns and safety. Remind yourself that the move is to provide them with the appropriate level of care and support they need.

Less Connection with Parent(s)

It's natural to worry about losing connection with your parent(s) once they move to assisted living. 

To maintain a strong bond, establish regular communication through phone calls, video chats, or visit them at least once a month. Participate in their activities and events at the assisted living community when possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know when it's time to put your parent in assisted living?

Look for signs such as difficulty in managing daily activities, increased isolation, safety concerns, or declining health that may indicate a need for assisted living.

What age do most seniors move to assisted living?

There's no specific age, but most seniors move to assisted living between the ages of 75 and 85, depending on their individual needs and circumstances.

What do you say to someone moving into assisted living?

Express your understanding of the difficult transition and offer words of encouragement. Remind them that assisted living provides a safe, social environment with professional care tailored to their needs.

What is one of the biggest drawbacks of assisted living?

The expense associated with this type of housing can be significant since it often costs an average monthly rate of around $4,500, depending on the location and services required.

How can I make my transition to assisted living easier?

Prepare by downsizing belongings, coordinating with a moving company, getting familiar with the community, and maintaining regular communication with family and friends to ease the process.

Estate Planning

Checklist For Moving A Parent To Assisted Living

Retirement center
Trustworthy icon

Joel Lim

Jun 6, 2023

Moving a parent to assisted living is not just about packing up their belongings and finding the right place to live. It involves understanding their needs, making tough decisions, and navigating a complex transition in their lives. 

As you move forward on this journey, it's important to be prepared and have a plan in place to make the move as smooth and stress-free as possible for the sake of your parents. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The most important things to do before moving a parent to assisted living are planning healthcare essentials, choosing a moving company, and getting all the paperwork sorted.

  • Follow practical steps to ensure a smooth transition into assisted living, like downsizing belongings, packing items properly, and coordinating with a moving company.

  • Address common concerns and challenges like parents resisting the move, feelings of guilt, and loss of communication by maintaining regular communication and supporting your parent's adjustment to their new living environment.

Assessing Your Parent's Care Needs

Younger woman pushing older woman in a wheelchair looking out the window

Figuring out if it's time to move your parent(s) to assisted living can be a tough call. 

Here's a quick breakdown of some key questions you can ask yourself to help you understand your elderly parents’ needs and make the best decision for their well-being:

  • Are they having difficulty with daily tasks or managing health issues? 

  • Have their hobbies lost interest, and are they becoming more isolated? 

  • Is their living space cluttered or hard to navigate?

Observe how they manage everyday activities like dressing, bathing, and cooking. Is there a decline in ability that would suggest assisted living might be necessary? 

Consider their social life & emotional state too. 

  • Have they become more isolated or lost interest in the things they once enjoyed? 

Assisted living communities provide numerous opportunities to stay connected with others, which can greatly improve an elderly person’s quality of life. 

Finally, consider their safety at home. 

  • Are there potential risks for falls or accidents that could be prevented through better care and supervision? 

  • Does the house need to be rearranged to make it easier for them to navigate safely? 

Assisted living facilities may offer a comfortable and secure alternative if you're worried about your parent's well-being.

Finding the Right Assisted Living Community

After you've determined that assisted living might be the right choice for your parent(s), finding a community that meets their needs and provides an enjoyable environment is important.

Consider the factors we discussed earlier, like social activities and safety. 

Create a list of your top priorities to guide your search. 

For example, focus on communities that offer assistance with activities of daily living and medication management if your parent struggles with daily tasks or prioritize social interaction if that's a concern.

Then, research and visit multiple communities in your desired location. 

This will help you compare services, amenities, and costs. 

Pay attention to the staff-to-resident ratio and the staff's behavior during your visit. Typically, one staff member per six to eight residents is sufficient. 

Ask questions about their experience, training, and emergency procedures.

Involve your parent(s) in decision-making as much as possible. 

Their comfort and happiness should be your top priority. After carefully evaluating your options and prioritizing your parent's needs, you'll be able to find the perfect assisted living community for them.

Understanding the Costs of Assisted Living

It's important to recognize that assisted living can be a significant financial commitment. 

Costs can vary depending on factors such as the level of care required, location, and the specific amenities offered by the community. Being aware of the estimated costs can help you plan and budget accordingly.

On average, assisted living costs in the United States are around $4,500 per month. 

This typically includes rent, utilities, meals, housekeeping, and assistance with daily activities. Some communities may charge additional fees for specialized care or services, such as memory care or transportation. 

Keep in mind that costs can be higher or lower depending on the region and the facility's reputation. 

It's crucial to thoroughly research and compare different communities to find the one that best suits your parent's needs and budget.

3 Steps Before Moving Your Parents to Assisted Living

Nurse taking an elderly woman's blood pressure

Moving your parents to an assisted living community can be a significant change for the whole family. 

Still, with a bit of planning, you can make the transition smoother and more manageable. 

Planning Healthcare Essentials

Ensuring that your parent(s) have a smooth transition to their new assisted living community includes caring for their healthcare needs. 

This involves scheduling appointments with their existing primary care physician, finding a new doctor if necessary, organizing medications, and addressing any other relevant healthcare concerns.

Some checklist items that will help you plan your parent(s) healthcare essentials:

  • Schedule a final appointment: Arrange a visit with your parent's existing physician to discuss the move and any medical concerns.

  • Find a new doctor: If your parent is moving to a new location, research and select a new primary care physician in that area.

  • Transfer medical records: Request that your parent's medical records be sent to their new healthcare providers.

  • Organize medications: Ensure your parent has an adequate supply of their current medications and a system to manage them.

  • Update emergency contacts: Provide the assisted living community with a list of emergency contacts, including family members and healthcare providers.

  • Discuss specialized care: If your parent requires specialized care, such as physical therapy or diabetes management, coordinate with the assisted living community to arrange necessary services.

  • Plan follow-up appointments: Schedule any necessary follow-up appointments with specialists or other healthcare providers in the new area.

Choosing A Moving Company

Selecting the right moving company is really important for a smooth and stress-free transition to an assisted living community. 

A professional and experienced moving company can handle the challenges and needs of your parents during this process. 

It's important to choose a company that not only provides quality service but also understands the emotional aspects of moving your parent(s) to a new living environment.

To ensure you find the best moving company, follow this checklist:

  • Gather recommendations from friends, family, and the assisted living community.

  • Verify the company's credentials, including DOT number, insurance, and BBB rating.

  • Request written quotes from at least three different companies.

  • Choose a company with experience in senior moves.

  • Look for additional services like packing, unpacking, and senior move management.

  • Request a detailed inventory list of items to be moved.

  • Discuss timelines and confirm the company can accommodate your preferred moving date.

  • Review the contract to understand terms, conditions, and potential additional fees.

  • Inquire about liability and valuation insurance coverage options.

  • Ensure the moving company is responsive and easy to communicate with.

Get All The Paperwork Sorted

Before moving your parent(s) to an assisted living community, it's important to organize and complete all the necessary paperwork to ensure a smooth transition. 

This includes notifying relevant parties of the new residence, transferring prescriptions, and taking care of other administrative tasks. Trustworthy can properly handle these details by securing and organizing your family’s information and can help minimize potential issues and make the move more manageable.

Here are some steps to consider when sorting out the paperwork:

  1. Update the address: Inform family members, friends, financial institutions, healthcare providers, and other relevant parties of your parent's new address.

  2. Transfer medical records: Request copies of your parent's medical records to be sent to their new healthcare providers.

  3. Update insurance information: Notify health, life, and property insurance companies of the change in residence.

  4. Transfer prescriptions: Coordinate with your parent's current and new pharmacies to transfer prescriptions seamlessly.

  5. Forward mail: Request a change of address with the post office to forward mail to the new residence.

4 Steps to Pack Your Parent's Things to Go to Assisted Living

A yonger woman helping an elderly man downsize his space in front of a box and holding a sweater

Taking the time to carefully pack and organize their possessions will not only protect their belongings during the move but also make the process of settling into their new home more comfortable and efficient.

As you prepare to move your parent(s) into an assisted living community, it's essential to have a well-organized plan for packing their belongings.

Sort and Downsize Belongings

The first step in packing for your parent's move to assisted living is to sort through their belongings and decide what to keep, donate, or discard. 

Start by evaluating their new living space’s size and storage capacity to determine how much they can realistically bring with them.

This process can be emotionally challenging, but it's important to balance this practicality. 

Encourage your parent(s) to be involved in the decision-making process and ensure that their feelings and preferences are considered.

Items you should think about getting rid of:

  • Excess clothing, shoes, and accessories

  • Duplicate items (kitchen gadgets, bedding, etc.)

  • Large furniture that won't fit in the new space

  • Expired medications and old medical supplies

  • Old or broken electronics and appliances

  • Collections, knick-knacks, or decorative items with limited sentimental value

  • Unused or outdated hobby supplies

  • Bulky or heavy items that are difficult to move and store

  • Old paperwork, magazines, and books that are no longer needed

  • Items that can be easily replaced or borrowed if needed

Consider this list of essential items as a starting point:

  • Furniture that fits the new space and serves a purpose (bed, dresser, comfortable seating)

  • Important documents (medical records, financial papers, legal documents)

  • Clothing appropriate for the new living environment and climate

  • Personal care items and toiletries

  • Medications and related medical supplies

  • A limited number of sentimental items (family photos, keepsakes)

  • Electronics for communication and entertainment (phone, computer, tablet, TV)

  • Hobbies and activities supplies (books, knitting materials, puzzles)

  • Mobility aids, if needed (walker, cane, wheelchair)

Related: How To Help Hoarder Parent?

Organize and Label Items

Organize and label items by categories, such as clothing or kitchenware. Clearly label each box with the contents and which room it belongs to (e.g., “Kitchen - Dishes”). You can also use color-coded labels for different categories/rooms for easy identification at a glance.

Pack with Care and Safety in Mind

When packing your parents’ belongings, use appropriate materials such as bubble wrap and sturdy boxes to protect fragile or valuable items. 

Take extra care when packing sensitive items like:

  • Glassware and delicate china

  • Fragile collectibles and figurines

  • Antiques and heirlooms

  • Fine art, paintings, and framed photographs

  • Electronics (TVs, computers, tablets, phones)

  • Jewelry and valuable accessories

  • Fragile lamps and light fixtures

Place heavier items in smaller boxes to prevent injury when lifting or moving them. Reinforce the bottom of all boxes with heavy-duty packing tape for additional support.

Coordinate with the Moving Company

If you've decided to use a professional moving company to help with your parent's move to assisted living, it's crucial to coordinate and communicate with them effectively. 

Be sure to discuss any specific packing or moving requirements for valuable or delicate items, such as antiques, fine art, or large appliances, so the movers know the special care these items may need.

Schedule the moving day and time well in advance, and confirm all necessary details. It's also a good idea to inquire about the moving company's insurance coverage for your parent's belongings and consider purchasing additional coverage if needed.

4 Things to Do After Moving Your Parent to Assisted Living

Once they've settled into their new home, it's essential to focus on making the most of this new chapter in their lives. 

Ensure that they have a smooth transition, establish strong connections with the community, and give the necessary support they need in their new environment.

Help Settle Them into Their New Space

One of the first things you should do after moving your parent(s) into their new assisted living home is to help them settle in and create a comfortable, personalized space. 

Having a clear layout plan for your parent's new living space and understanding the community's layout is really important. Creating a plan can minimize confusion, optimize space usage, and ensure that your parent(s) have everything they need within their reach.

Here are some checklist items to help you create an effective layout plan:

  • Request floor plans: Obtain plans for the new living space and the community's common areas.

  • Measure essential furniture: Make sure it fits comfortably and allows for easy movement within the space.

  • Arrange for accessibility: Create clear pathways and minimize fall risks with smart furniture placement.

  • Add personal touches: Include family photos, favorite decorative items, or keepsakes to make the space feel like home.

  • Visit common areas: Familiarize yourself with dining rooms, activity centers, and outdoor spaces within the community.

  • Provide a community map: Offer a simple map or visual guide to help your parent(s) navigate the area.

Get to Know the Staff and Caregivers

Once your parent(s) are settled into their new home, it's important to get to know the staff members and caretakers in the assisted living community. 

Introduce yourself and have a conversation with the people who will be directly involved in your parent's day-to-day care. This can include nurses, aides, activity coordinators, and even dining staff. 

Just a tiny list of priority staff or members you should get to know first:

  • Personal Caregiver

  • Medication Manager

  • Primary Physician or Medical Director

  • Facility Manager 

  • Administrator

  • Activity Coordinator

  • Dining Services Manager or Chef

  • Physical Therapist

  • Occupational Therapist

Familiarize Them with the Community and Amenities

As your parent(s) settle into their new assisted living community, it's important to help them become familiar with the various amenities and resources available to them. 

Take time to explore the community together, visiting key areas such as the dining hall, activity centers, fitness rooms, outdoor spaces, and common areas. 

Encourage your parent(s) to participate in activities, social events, and group programs designed for residents. These experiences not only provide opportunities for them to engage in enjoyable pastimes but also help them build relationships with fellow residents. 

Maintain Regular Communication and Visits

Visiting your elderly parents regularly or maintaining communication with your parent(s) is really important for their emotional well-being and to help them adjust to their new life.

 Staying connected can be done through phone calls, video chats, or in-person visits, depending on your availability and distance.

It can help ease any feelings of loneliness or isolation they may experience during the transition.

Addressing Common Concerns and Challenges

An older man holding a woman's hand

Parent(s) Resisting the Move

Your parents may fear losing independence or adapting to unfamiliar surroundings, which is normal. 

You should try to ease their concerns, involve them in decision-making processes, and discuss benefits like increased safety, socialization opportunities, and professional care services available through assisted living communities.

Feelings of Guilt

You may feel guilty about moving your parent(s) to an assisted living, but remember that the decision is made in their best interest, focusing on their concerns and safety. Remind yourself that the move is to provide them with the appropriate level of care and support they need.

Less Connection with Parent(s)

It's natural to worry about losing connection with your parent(s) once they move to assisted living. 

To maintain a strong bond, establish regular communication through phone calls, video chats, or visit them at least once a month. Participate in their activities and events at the assisted living community when possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know when it's time to put your parent in assisted living?

Look for signs such as difficulty in managing daily activities, increased isolation, safety concerns, or declining health that may indicate a need for assisted living.

What age do most seniors move to assisted living?

There's no specific age, but most seniors move to assisted living between the ages of 75 and 85, depending on their individual needs and circumstances.

What do you say to someone moving into assisted living?

Express your understanding of the difficult transition and offer words of encouragement. Remind them that assisted living provides a safe, social environment with professional care tailored to their needs.

What is one of the biggest drawbacks of assisted living?

The expense associated with this type of housing can be significant since it often costs an average monthly rate of around $4,500, depending on the location and services required.

How can I make my transition to assisted living easier?

Prepare by downsizing belongings, coordinating with a moving company, getting familiar with the community, and maintaining regular communication with family and friends to ease the process.

Estate Planning

Checklist For Moving A Parent To Assisted Living

Retirement center
Trustworthy icon

Joel Lim

Jun 6, 2023

Moving a parent to assisted living is not just about packing up their belongings and finding the right place to live. It involves understanding their needs, making tough decisions, and navigating a complex transition in their lives. 

As you move forward on this journey, it's important to be prepared and have a plan in place to make the move as smooth and stress-free as possible for the sake of your parents. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The most important things to do before moving a parent to assisted living are planning healthcare essentials, choosing a moving company, and getting all the paperwork sorted.

  • Follow practical steps to ensure a smooth transition into assisted living, like downsizing belongings, packing items properly, and coordinating with a moving company.

  • Address common concerns and challenges like parents resisting the move, feelings of guilt, and loss of communication by maintaining regular communication and supporting your parent's adjustment to their new living environment.

Assessing Your Parent's Care Needs

Younger woman pushing older woman in a wheelchair looking out the window

Figuring out if it's time to move your parent(s) to assisted living can be a tough call. 

Here's a quick breakdown of some key questions you can ask yourself to help you understand your elderly parents’ needs and make the best decision for their well-being:

  • Are they having difficulty with daily tasks or managing health issues? 

  • Have their hobbies lost interest, and are they becoming more isolated? 

  • Is their living space cluttered or hard to navigate?

Observe how they manage everyday activities like dressing, bathing, and cooking. Is there a decline in ability that would suggest assisted living might be necessary? 

Consider their social life & emotional state too. 

  • Have they become more isolated or lost interest in the things they once enjoyed? 

Assisted living communities provide numerous opportunities to stay connected with others, which can greatly improve an elderly person’s quality of life. 

Finally, consider their safety at home. 

  • Are there potential risks for falls or accidents that could be prevented through better care and supervision? 

  • Does the house need to be rearranged to make it easier for them to navigate safely? 

Assisted living facilities may offer a comfortable and secure alternative if you're worried about your parent's well-being.

Finding the Right Assisted Living Community

After you've determined that assisted living might be the right choice for your parent(s), finding a community that meets their needs and provides an enjoyable environment is important.

Consider the factors we discussed earlier, like social activities and safety. 

Create a list of your top priorities to guide your search. 

For example, focus on communities that offer assistance with activities of daily living and medication management if your parent struggles with daily tasks or prioritize social interaction if that's a concern.

Then, research and visit multiple communities in your desired location. 

This will help you compare services, amenities, and costs. 

Pay attention to the staff-to-resident ratio and the staff's behavior during your visit. Typically, one staff member per six to eight residents is sufficient. 

Ask questions about their experience, training, and emergency procedures.

Involve your parent(s) in decision-making as much as possible. 

Their comfort and happiness should be your top priority. After carefully evaluating your options and prioritizing your parent's needs, you'll be able to find the perfect assisted living community for them.

Understanding the Costs of Assisted Living

It's important to recognize that assisted living can be a significant financial commitment. 

Costs can vary depending on factors such as the level of care required, location, and the specific amenities offered by the community. Being aware of the estimated costs can help you plan and budget accordingly.

On average, assisted living costs in the United States are around $4,500 per month. 

This typically includes rent, utilities, meals, housekeeping, and assistance with daily activities. Some communities may charge additional fees for specialized care or services, such as memory care or transportation. 

Keep in mind that costs can be higher or lower depending on the region and the facility's reputation. 

It's crucial to thoroughly research and compare different communities to find the one that best suits your parent's needs and budget.

3 Steps Before Moving Your Parents to Assisted Living

Nurse taking an elderly woman's blood pressure

Moving your parents to an assisted living community can be a significant change for the whole family. 

Still, with a bit of planning, you can make the transition smoother and more manageable. 

Planning Healthcare Essentials

Ensuring that your parent(s) have a smooth transition to their new assisted living community includes caring for their healthcare needs. 

This involves scheduling appointments with their existing primary care physician, finding a new doctor if necessary, organizing medications, and addressing any other relevant healthcare concerns.

Some checklist items that will help you plan your parent(s) healthcare essentials:

  • Schedule a final appointment: Arrange a visit with your parent's existing physician to discuss the move and any medical concerns.

  • Find a new doctor: If your parent is moving to a new location, research and select a new primary care physician in that area.

  • Transfer medical records: Request that your parent's medical records be sent to their new healthcare providers.

  • Organize medications: Ensure your parent has an adequate supply of their current medications and a system to manage them.

  • Update emergency contacts: Provide the assisted living community with a list of emergency contacts, including family members and healthcare providers.

  • Discuss specialized care: If your parent requires specialized care, such as physical therapy or diabetes management, coordinate with the assisted living community to arrange necessary services.

  • Plan follow-up appointments: Schedule any necessary follow-up appointments with specialists or other healthcare providers in the new area.

Choosing A Moving Company

Selecting the right moving company is really important for a smooth and stress-free transition to an assisted living community. 

A professional and experienced moving company can handle the challenges and needs of your parents during this process. 

It's important to choose a company that not only provides quality service but also understands the emotional aspects of moving your parent(s) to a new living environment.

To ensure you find the best moving company, follow this checklist:

  • Gather recommendations from friends, family, and the assisted living community.

  • Verify the company's credentials, including DOT number, insurance, and BBB rating.

  • Request written quotes from at least three different companies.

  • Choose a company with experience in senior moves.

  • Look for additional services like packing, unpacking, and senior move management.

  • Request a detailed inventory list of items to be moved.

  • Discuss timelines and confirm the company can accommodate your preferred moving date.

  • Review the contract to understand terms, conditions, and potential additional fees.

  • Inquire about liability and valuation insurance coverage options.

  • Ensure the moving company is responsive and easy to communicate with.

Get All The Paperwork Sorted

Before moving your parent(s) to an assisted living community, it's important to organize and complete all the necessary paperwork to ensure a smooth transition. 

This includes notifying relevant parties of the new residence, transferring prescriptions, and taking care of other administrative tasks. Trustworthy can properly handle these details by securing and organizing your family’s information and can help minimize potential issues and make the move more manageable.

Here are some steps to consider when sorting out the paperwork:

  1. Update the address: Inform family members, friends, financial institutions, healthcare providers, and other relevant parties of your parent's new address.

  2. Transfer medical records: Request copies of your parent's medical records to be sent to their new healthcare providers.

  3. Update insurance information: Notify health, life, and property insurance companies of the change in residence.

  4. Transfer prescriptions: Coordinate with your parent's current and new pharmacies to transfer prescriptions seamlessly.

  5. Forward mail: Request a change of address with the post office to forward mail to the new residence.

4 Steps to Pack Your Parent's Things to Go to Assisted Living

A yonger woman helping an elderly man downsize his space in front of a box and holding a sweater

Taking the time to carefully pack and organize their possessions will not only protect their belongings during the move but also make the process of settling into their new home more comfortable and efficient.

As you prepare to move your parent(s) into an assisted living community, it's essential to have a well-organized plan for packing their belongings.

Sort and Downsize Belongings

The first step in packing for your parent's move to assisted living is to sort through their belongings and decide what to keep, donate, or discard. 

Start by evaluating their new living space’s size and storage capacity to determine how much they can realistically bring with them.

This process can be emotionally challenging, but it's important to balance this practicality. 

Encourage your parent(s) to be involved in the decision-making process and ensure that their feelings and preferences are considered.

Items you should think about getting rid of:

  • Excess clothing, shoes, and accessories

  • Duplicate items (kitchen gadgets, bedding, etc.)

  • Large furniture that won't fit in the new space

  • Expired medications and old medical supplies

  • Old or broken electronics and appliances

  • Collections, knick-knacks, or decorative items with limited sentimental value

  • Unused or outdated hobby supplies

  • Bulky or heavy items that are difficult to move and store

  • Old paperwork, magazines, and books that are no longer needed

  • Items that can be easily replaced or borrowed if needed

Consider this list of essential items as a starting point:

  • Furniture that fits the new space and serves a purpose (bed, dresser, comfortable seating)

  • Important documents (medical records, financial papers, legal documents)

  • Clothing appropriate for the new living environment and climate

  • Personal care items and toiletries

  • Medications and related medical supplies

  • A limited number of sentimental items (family photos, keepsakes)

  • Electronics for communication and entertainment (phone, computer, tablet, TV)

  • Hobbies and activities supplies (books, knitting materials, puzzles)

  • Mobility aids, if needed (walker, cane, wheelchair)

Related: How To Help Hoarder Parent?

Organize and Label Items

Organize and label items by categories, such as clothing or kitchenware. Clearly label each box with the contents and which room it belongs to (e.g., “Kitchen - Dishes”). You can also use color-coded labels for different categories/rooms for easy identification at a glance.

Pack with Care and Safety in Mind

When packing your parents’ belongings, use appropriate materials such as bubble wrap and sturdy boxes to protect fragile or valuable items. 

Take extra care when packing sensitive items like:

  • Glassware and delicate china

  • Fragile collectibles and figurines

  • Antiques and heirlooms

  • Fine art, paintings, and framed photographs

  • Electronics (TVs, computers, tablets, phones)

  • Jewelry and valuable accessories

  • Fragile lamps and light fixtures

Place heavier items in smaller boxes to prevent injury when lifting or moving them. Reinforce the bottom of all boxes with heavy-duty packing tape for additional support.

Coordinate with the Moving Company

If you've decided to use a professional moving company to help with your parent's move to assisted living, it's crucial to coordinate and communicate with them effectively. 

Be sure to discuss any specific packing or moving requirements for valuable or delicate items, such as antiques, fine art, or large appliances, so the movers know the special care these items may need.

Schedule the moving day and time well in advance, and confirm all necessary details. It's also a good idea to inquire about the moving company's insurance coverage for your parent's belongings and consider purchasing additional coverage if needed.

4 Things to Do After Moving Your Parent to Assisted Living

Once they've settled into their new home, it's essential to focus on making the most of this new chapter in their lives. 

Ensure that they have a smooth transition, establish strong connections with the community, and give the necessary support they need in their new environment.

Help Settle Them into Their New Space

One of the first things you should do after moving your parent(s) into their new assisted living home is to help them settle in and create a comfortable, personalized space. 

Having a clear layout plan for your parent's new living space and understanding the community's layout is really important. Creating a plan can minimize confusion, optimize space usage, and ensure that your parent(s) have everything they need within their reach.

Here are some checklist items to help you create an effective layout plan:

  • Request floor plans: Obtain plans for the new living space and the community's common areas.

  • Measure essential furniture: Make sure it fits comfortably and allows for easy movement within the space.

  • Arrange for accessibility: Create clear pathways and minimize fall risks with smart furniture placement.

  • Add personal touches: Include family photos, favorite decorative items, or keepsakes to make the space feel like home.

  • Visit common areas: Familiarize yourself with dining rooms, activity centers, and outdoor spaces within the community.

  • Provide a community map: Offer a simple map or visual guide to help your parent(s) navigate the area.

Get to Know the Staff and Caregivers

Once your parent(s) are settled into their new home, it's important to get to know the staff members and caretakers in the assisted living community. 

Introduce yourself and have a conversation with the people who will be directly involved in your parent's day-to-day care. This can include nurses, aides, activity coordinators, and even dining staff. 

Just a tiny list of priority staff or members you should get to know first:

  • Personal Caregiver

  • Medication Manager

  • Primary Physician or Medical Director

  • Facility Manager 

  • Administrator

  • Activity Coordinator

  • Dining Services Manager or Chef

  • Physical Therapist

  • Occupational Therapist

Familiarize Them with the Community and Amenities

As your parent(s) settle into their new assisted living community, it's important to help them become familiar with the various amenities and resources available to them. 

Take time to explore the community together, visiting key areas such as the dining hall, activity centers, fitness rooms, outdoor spaces, and common areas. 

Encourage your parent(s) to participate in activities, social events, and group programs designed for residents. These experiences not only provide opportunities for them to engage in enjoyable pastimes but also help them build relationships with fellow residents. 

Maintain Regular Communication and Visits

Visiting your elderly parents regularly or maintaining communication with your parent(s) is really important for their emotional well-being and to help them adjust to their new life.

 Staying connected can be done through phone calls, video chats, or in-person visits, depending on your availability and distance.

It can help ease any feelings of loneliness or isolation they may experience during the transition.

Addressing Common Concerns and Challenges

An older man holding a woman's hand

Parent(s) Resisting the Move

Your parents may fear losing independence or adapting to unfamiliar surroundings, which is normal. 

You should try to ease their concerns, involve them in decision-making processes, and discuss benefits like increased safety, socialization opportunities, and professional care services available through assisted living communities.

Feelings of Guilt

You may feel guilty about moving your parent(s) to an assisted living, but remember that the decision is made in their best interest, focusing on their concerns and safety. Remind yourself that the move is to provide them with the appropriate level of care and support they need.

Less Connection with Parent(s)

It's natural to worry about losing connection with your parent(s) once they move to assisted living. 

To maintain a strong bond, establish regular communication through phone calls, video chats, or visit them at least once a month. Participate in their activities and events at the assisted living community when possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know when it's time to put your parent in assisted living?

Look for signs such as difficulty in managing daily activities, increased isolation, safety concerns, or declining health that may indicate a need for assisted living.

What age do most seniors move to assisted living?

There's no specific age, but most seniors move to assisted living between the ages of 75 and 85, depending on their individual needs and circumstances.

What do you say to someone moving into assisted living?

Express your understanding of the difficult transition and offer words of encouragement. Remind them that assisted living provides a safe, social environment with professional care tailored to their needs.

What is one of the biggest drawbacks of assisted living?

The expense associated with this type of housing can be significant since it often costs an average monthly rate of around $4,500, depending on the location and services required.

How can I make my transition to assisted living easier?

Prepare by downsizing belongings, coordinating with a moving company, getting familiar with the community, and maintaining regular communication with family and friends to ease the process.

Try Trustworthy today.

Try the Family Operating System® for yourself. You (and your family) will love it.

No credit card required.

Try Trustworthy today.

Try the Family Operating System® for yourself. You (and your family) will love it.

No credit card required.

Try Trustworthy today.

Try the Family Operating System® for yourself. You (and your family) will love it.

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Settling an Estate: A Step-by-Step Guide

Check on the table
Check on the table
Check on the table

Feb 10, 2023

My Deceased Husband Received A Check In The Mail (4 Steps To Take)

The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Feb 7, 2023

The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

How To Track Elderly Parents' Phone (2 Options)
How To Track Elderly Parents' Phone (2 Options)
How To Track Elderly Parents' Phone (2 Options)

Feb 6, 2023

How To Track Elderly Parents' Phone (2 Options)

Someone filling out a social security benefits application form
Someone filling out a social security benefits application form
Someone filling out a social security benefits application form

Feb 1, 2023

Can You Collect Your Parents' Social Security When They Die?

Veteran Benefits book
Veteran Benefits book
Veteran Benefits book

Feb 1, 2023

How Do I Stop VA Benefits When Someone Dies (Simple Guide)

Person typing on a laptop with a credit card in hand
Person typing on a laptop with a credit card in hand
Person typing on a laptop with a credit card in hand

Feb 1, 2023

Can You Pay Money Into A Deceased Person's Bank Account?

Deleting A Facebook Account When Someone Dies (Step by Step)
Deleting A Facebook Account When Someone Dies (Step by Step)
Deleting A Facebook Account When Someone Dies (Step by Step)

Feb 1, 2023

Deleting A Facebook Account When Someone Dies (Step by Step)

Two people sitting across a desk speaking to each other with papers on desk.
Two people sitting across a desk speaking to each other with papers on desk.
Two people sitting across a desk speaking to each other with papers on desk.

Feb 1, 2023

Does The DMV Know When Someone Dies?

Gavel
Gavel
Gavel

Feb 1, 2023

How To Find A Deceased Person's Lawyer (5 Ways)

How To Plan A Celebration Of Life (10 Steps With Examples)
How To Plan A Celebration Of Life (10 Steps With Examples)
How To Plan A Celebration Of Life (10 Steps With Examples)

Feb 1, 2023

How To Plan A Celebration Of Life (10 Steps With Examples)

How To Stop Mail Of A Deceased Person? A Simple Guide
How To Stop Mail Of A Deceased Person? A Simple Guide
How To Stop Mail Of A Deceased Person? A Simple Guide

Feb 1, 2023

How To Stop Mail Of A Deceased Person? A Simple Guide

Social security card, 1040 form
Social security card, 1040 form
Social security card, 1040 form

Feb 1, 2023

How to Stop Social Security Direct Deposit After Death

Firearm
Firearm
Firearm

Feb 1, 2023

How To Transfer Firearms From A Deceased Person (3 Steps)

How To Write An Obituary (5 Steps With Examples)
How To Write An Obituary (5 Steps With Examples)
How To Write An Obituary (5 Steps With Examples)

Feb 1, 2023

How To Write An Obituary (5 Steps With Examples)

Unlock iPhone When Someone Dies (5 Things To Try)
Unlock iPhone When Someone Dies (5 Things To Try)
Unlock iPhone When Someone Dies (5 Things To Try)

Feb 1, 2023

Unlock iPhone When Someone Dies (5 Things To Try)

Close-up of a tire on silver car on a road
Close-up of a tire on silver car on a road
Close-up of a tire on silver car on a road

Feb 1, 2023

What Happens To A Leased Vehicle When Someone Dies?

Do Wills Expire? 6 Things To Know
Do Wills Expire? 6 Things To Know
Do Wills Expire? 6 Things To Know

Jan 31, 2023

Do Wills Expire? 6 Things To Know

Person typing on a laptop
Person typing on a laptop
Person typing on a laptop

Jan 31, 2023

How To Get Into a Deceased Person's Computer (Microsoft & Apple)

Fingerprint documentation
Fingerprint documentation
Fingerprint documentation

Jan 31, 2023

Why Do Funeral Homes Take Fingerprints of the Deceased?

Foreclosure in front of a home
Foreclosure in front of a home
Foreclosure in front of a home

Jan 31, 2023

What To Do If Your Deceased Parents' Home Is In Foreclosure

Questions To Ask An Estate Attorney After Death (Checklist)
Questions To Ask An Estate Attorney After Death (Checklist)
Questions To Ask An Estate Attorney After Death (Checklist)

Jan 31, 2023

Questions To Ask An Estate Attorney After Death (Checklist)

Woman looking stressed while holding a document at her computer
Woman looking stressed while holding a document at her computer
Woman looking stressed while holding a document at her computer

Jan 31, 2023

What Happens If a Deceased Individual Owes Taxes?

Elderly people talking with professional
Elderly people talking with professional
Elderly people talking with professional

Jan 31, 2023

Components of Estate Planning: 6 Things To Consider

What To Do If Insurance Check Is Made Out To A Deceased Person
What To Do If Insurance Check Is Made Out To A Deceased Person
What To Do If Insurance Check Is Made Out To A Deceased Person

Jan 22, 2023

What To Do If Insurance Check Is Made Out To A Deceased Person

Scattered photograph negatives
Scattered photograph negatives
Scattered photograph negatives

Jan 8, 2023

What Does a Typical Estate Plan Include?

Can I Do A Video Will? (Is It Legitimate & What To Consider)
Can I Do A Video Will? (Is It Legitimate & What To Consider)
Can I Do A Video Will? (Is It Legitimate & What To Consider)

Apr 15, 2022

Can I Do A Video Will? (Is It Legitimate & What To Consider)

Estate Planning For Green Card Holders (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning For Green Card Holders (Complete Guide)
Estate Planning For Green Card Holders (Complete Guide)

Apr 15, 2022

Estate Planning For Green Card Holders (Complete Guide)

Chair in a bedroom
Chair in a bedroom
Chair in a bedroom

Mar 2, 2022

What Does Your “Property” Mean?

Gavel
Gavel
Gavel

Mar 2, 2022

What is the Uniform Trust Code? What is the Uniform Probate Code?

Female statue balancing scales
Female statue balancing scales
Female statue balancing scales

Mar 2, 2022

Do You Need to Avoid Probate?

Person signing document
Person signing document
Person signing document

Mar 2, 2022

How is a Trust Created?

stethoscope
stethoscope
stethoscope

Mar 2, 2022

What Are Advance Directives?

Couple standing on the beach
Couple standing on the beach
Couple standing on the beach

Mar 2, 2022

What does a Trustee Do?

Large house exterior
Large house exterior
Large house exterior

Mar 2, 2022

What is an Estate Plan? (And why you need one)

Gavel
Gavel
Gavel

Mar 2, 2022

What is Probate?

United States Map
United States Map
United States Map

Mar 2, 2022

What Is Your Domicile & Why It Matters

Man organizing paperwork
Man organizing paperwork
Man organizing paperwork

Mar 2, 2022

What Is a Power of Attorney for Finances?

A baby and toddler lying on a bed
A baby and toddler lying on a bed
A baby and toddler lying on a bed

Mar 1, 2022

Should your family consider an umbrella insurance policy?

Woman typing on laptop on a table with tea, plant, notebooks
Woman typing on laptop on a table with tea, plant, notebooks
Woman typing on laptop on a table with tea, plant, notebooks

Mar 1, 2022

Do I need a digital power of attorney?

Person signing documents
Person signing documents
Person signing documents

Apr 6, 2020

What Exactly is a Trust?