Care homes have very much been in the spotlight over the last year, with increased... Read more...
If you're moving into a care home for the first time or managing the move for a family member, it can involve a vast range of emotions.
Such a significant change is bound to cause some nerves.
Still, the overriding positive is that you, or somebody you love, will be in a safe environment, with around-the-clock professional care and help with everything from eating hot, nutritious food to relaxing and enjoying social events.
The best way to prepare for the transition is to plan.
Knowing what to expect, and how it all works removes a lot of the uncertainty and is a recipe for a smooth, well-planned move.
Let's run through everything you need to know about moving into a care home, from what to pack to whether you can bring your furry friends along!
Preparing for the transition of moving into a care home
First up on our moving into a care home checklist, let's think about the care home environment itself.
It can feel like a whole new adventure, with the prospect of meeting new friends and settling into a new home - but nobody wants to go into such a situation unprepared!
It would help if you also gave thought to any challenges around mobility, hearing and sight to ensure you've got the right facilities in place to adapt to this new living space.
There is lots of advice out there - for example, you can find information about care home guidance for supporting residents with hearing loss from Action on Hearing Loss.
- Always take your time to visit the care home in advance. That's partly because of the practicalities (like measuring for furniture) but mainly to help with the emotional adjustment. Knowing where the dining room is, for example, or where to find help will avoid a lot of stress in the early days.
- Chat to the staff about your moving into a care home checklist. They'll always be on hand to answer any questions you have, make changes to accommodate your needs and make introductions to other residents with whom you have something in common.
- Have a support line home. Whether that's a daily phone call, a weekly visit, or a monthly letter, having regular, consistent contact is essential - living in a care home doesn't mean anything changes apart from your home's location!
Every centre is different and will have different rules around visiting hours, parking spaces and cars so family members need to know how the care home works. Keeping them updated is an important task on your moving into a care home checklist.
If you can't take a pet with you, don't fret - there are always options! Perhaps a family member can rehome your fluffy friend, and you can visit with them to see how they're getting on.
Alternatively, suppose you're concerned about whether an animal will cope with moving into a care home (perhaps if they are a boisterous pup who's likely to cause chaos!).
In that case, you can consult many charities, local and national, who will help them find a loving home. Most will provide updates and photos, so you have the assurance that they've settled happily with a good family.
You can consult The Cinnamon Trust, RSPCA or a local animal rehoming charity for more advice.
Moving into a care home - the practicalities
Next up, let's think about the logistics; because we all build up a lifetime's worth of 'stuff' over the years!
Initially, you need to know what space you have - that might include:
- Measuring the dimensions of your room
- Checking with the care home whether there are limitations on the amount of furniture or belongings you can bring
- Making sure items comply with care home rules about fire safety
- Deciding what to keep, what to bring, what to store, and what to gift or pass on to a charity
- Finding a reliable local removals company (tip - ask them for a full packing service including boxes and tape to take a lot of the legwork out of the task). You can find assistance through the National Guild of Removers and Storers
- Sorting through clothes to ensure everything you bring is machine washable
- Label clothes and private possessions, so they don't get mixed up
- Testing any electricals for PAT safety - the care home might be able to do this for you
One of the best ways to decide what to bring and how to arrange it is to draw up a floor plan and take each respective wall's measurements.
You can also retain familiarity by taking a photo of a wall of pictures, or an ornament arrangement to ensure it is replicated exactly in your new living quarters!
The key to moving into a care home successfully is to make sure you have all of your most treasured possessions, but don't cram a room full of so much furniture it's hard to move around, and you risk bumps and trips.
Insurance is also another admin task. Anything precious should be insured, so it's worth asking the care home whether their cover is sufficient, or whether you need private insurance cover too.
Should you have a lot of clothes or furniture to clear, many charities offer a house clearance service.
They will be enormously grateful for anything you don't need - and don't be afraid to ask for help as they're often more than happy to supply a removal van and people power!
Other checklist items before moving into a care home include:
- Cancelling utilities and services at your old property
- Stopping direct debits for ongoing payments
- Informing everybody of your change of address
- Letting your GP know where you are moving
Packing for moving into a care home
As we've discovered, space might be at a premium, so there's a delicate balance between keeping hold of your home comforts and packing carefully.
Here's our moving into a care home checklist on what to make sure you pack:
- Clothing - you'll want daytime outfits, gardening and crafting clothes you don't mind getting dirty, relaxing clothes for exercise classes, dressing gown, slippers, at least two pairs of shoes, your coat and outdoor clothing, socks, and underwear of course!
- Make sure to take a couple of your favourite outfits for special occasions - you might find yourself attending a lot more birthday parties and celebrations than you imagine
- Photos, books, games, writing materials, cushions, pillows and bed linen - these things are all comforting items that will make you feel at home
- Your favourite toiletries. You'll need the basics, such as soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, makeup or shaving equipment
- Don't forget about luxury items; your favourite perfume, cologne or nail varnish can all make a big difference
- Essentials - mobile phone and charger. Glasses, at least two weeks of medicines, and any mobility aids
If you forget something, you can always have a family member drop it off; or care homes commonly have plenty of back-up supplies if there is anything urgent.
The key is to remember that you don't need to leave behind anything you love, and by having a moving into a care home checklist and working through it methodically, you'll stay in control of the move and know exactly what to expect when you get there.
Should there be anything you're unsure of, always give the care home a call to chat it through - they are there to help, and will do everything possible to make your transition a happy one!Contact Us
There are so many considerations when thinking about your health and wellbeing in later life. ... Read more...
If you're moving into a care home for the first time or managing the move... Read more...
It probably goes without saying that having robust policies and procedures is an essential element... Read more...
Deciding how to take the best care of a loved one when they are unwell... Read more...
Wondering what an Individual Service Fund (ISF) is and how it works? Essentially, an ISF... Read more...
In March 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement unveiled documentation outlining updates to the Enhanced... Read more...
Animal therapy in care homes can bring a wealth of benefits for residents. Anyone who’s... Read more...
If you’re eager to find out more about the role of a care assistant and... Read more...
Safeguarding adults is fundamental in all care settings. All adults who use care services have... Read more...
Care home activities can provide a wealth of benefits for elderly residents. The ideal activities... Read more...
Infection control in care homes is key to keeping residents and staff safe and happy.... Read more...
What is domiciliary care? Domiciliary care is care provided in a person’s home. It’s also... Read more...
Skills for Care is the charity at the heart of adult social care workforce development... Read more...
The Accessible Information Standard is an important piece of legislation that above all promotes equality... Read more...
Since 2016, NHS organisations and local councils have been working together to deliver integrated care... Read more...
Preparing for a CQC inspection is something all adult social care providers should know how... Read more...
Equality and diversity is an essential part of every care establishment. So what exactly is... Read more...
Hiring the right home care staff is crucial for your care agency. Your employees are... Read more...