How do I prepare for moving into a care home?
Many of us have been through the ordeal of moving house before, but moving into a care home has its own challenges due to the change of lifestyle that comes with it. It is completely natural to have anxieties about your transition into a care home, but planning ahead can significantly help calm your nerves.
We have created a checklist of 5 things that you can do building up to and during your move to make it as easy as possible.
1. Ask the care home whether you can take your own furniture & what items/services are provided in the monthly cost.
You will inevitably have less space than you currently have at your own home so it would be best to check whether there are any restrictions on bringing your own furniture to the home before moving in. This will prevent any disappointment on the day should your furniture not fit in the room or fail to meet certain guidelines (fire retardant etc). You may be able to request a floor plan of the room with measurements which will enable you to determine whether your items will fit nicely. Where possible we recommend that you view the specific room that you are going to be moving into so that you have a visual idea of the layout of the room.
By asking what services and items are included in the monthly cost of staying at the care home, you can avoid bringing or purchasing unnecessary items with you. For instance, the home may supply towels & bedding meaning that there is no need for you to take these with you. If you would like to have a phone in your room to keep in touch with friends, it's worth checking whether the room you're moving into comes with a phone or whether you will need to arrange this yourself.
2. Decide which personal belongings you would like to take with you
Personal belongings can help you feel at home in your new surroundings. It is encouraged to place favourite items such as ornaments, and photographs of your family around your new room to make it your own. Due to moving into one room, it is sensible to be selective in what you take with you as I'm sure you can agree that it is no fun living in a cluttered space.
Wardrobe space is also likely to be less than what you are used to at home so we recommend that you select your favourite machine washable clothing items. Ensure that you take a range of clothing that will be suitable for different weather conditions. Many homes suggest labelling clothing to prevent your items from getting mixed up with other residents'. To be on the safe side you should ask whether you need to do this yourself or whether the care home will do this for you upon your arrival.
If you are taking electrical items with you, be aware that some home's may need to carry out a safety test on them. They may have someone at the home who can do this, or they may get an electrician in to complete the task. There is a chance that this may incur a small charge so to avoid any unexpected expenses it would be an idea to clarify what the home's normal practise is for electrical items.
To ensure that your valuable items are covered by the home's Contents Insurance Policy, double-check with the home before moving in. It is also recommended that you take out your own insurance just in case anything were to happen to your valuables.
3. Decide what to do with your remaining belongings
Due to the limitations on the amount of belongings you can take with you, de-cluttering your current home before your move is a must. This can be a hefty task so we do recommend that you ask for support from your loved ones. You could offer items that you no longer require to family & friends whom you know will appreciate and care for them, or charity shops so that somebody else can benefit from them. The Council will be able to pick up any bulky items that you would struggle to move if you arrange for them to do so. It is important to ensure that you don't forget to pre-arrange for a house clearance company to come to your home to remove any final items that you no longer require.
4. Are you planning to take a furry friend along with you?
If you have a beloved pet that you would like to take with you to your care home, it would be worth checking with the home that this would be ok before moving in. Whilst some home's will be more than happy to accommodate your pet, others may have restrictions in place.
Alternatively, there is a charity called The Cinnamon Trust who may be able to help find your pet a loving new home. They can arrange for the new owner to send you regular photos and updates to keep you in touch with how your pet is and what they are getting up to.
5. Inform everyone you need to of your new address
Ensure that you remember to inform your Bank, Royal Mail etc that you're home address is changing so that your mail is redirected to the care home you are moving into. Informing family and friends of your new address would also be a good idea as this will enable them to keep in contact with you.
What can I do on moving day to ensure a successful move?
- Make your new room as homely as possible by hanging photos up on the walls (the home's handyman should be able to do this for you), placing treasured items around the room and taking your favourite comforter such as a blanket. By doing this you are likely to feel more at ease in your new surroundings.
- Get support from your family & friends - Having people who are close to you there to assist you on moving day can provide you with moral support. Moving home can certainly be daunting, so having familiar faces around can make you feel more relaxed. Furthermore, having a few extra pairs of hands could speed up the process of moving your belongings into your new room!
- Don't be afraid to ask questions and request improvements that could be made to your room to make you feel more comfortable. It is in the home's best interest to make you feel at home so they will try their best to fulfil your requests where they can and will be more than happy to explain anything that you are unsure of.
- Find your way around the home and introduce yourself to staff & fellow residents. We recommend that you have a chat with staff members at the home to communicate any preferences such as any dietary requirements. Without telling them what you like/don't like they won't know! Introducing yourself to your new neighbours will help you feel less isolated; you're likely to be seeing a lot of each other so it would be beneficial for you to befriend them. You may like to create a folder of your interests and information about your life to take with you. This can be a nice way for staff and other residents at the home to get to know you. Things that you could include are photos of your family and any hobbies that you enjoy such as gardening.