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Moving to Assisted Living: What To and Not to Bring

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

Presumably all future residents transitioning to a senior living community will have to downsize. The downsizing is necessary to manage the square footage limitations of the new apartment, and to improve residents’ safety awareness Communities may have unique standards and recommendations on what to bring and what to avoid. The resources of Encore Senior Advisors can obtain and offer the specifics.

We have complied a general list below on what to bring and what not to bring to the assisted living community.

What not to bring to the Assisted Living Community

  • Oversized furniture and large ottomans: These items while comfortable take up valuable square footage in modest sized apartments. They also create obstacles and trip hazards

  • Tea kettles and coffee makers: The exception could be single serve coffee stations and electronics with automatic safety shut off

  • Toasters or any type of cooking element

  • Space heaters

  • Heated blankets: Presents not only a fire risk but the risk of resident unintentionally burning self, due to prolonged use

  • Rugs and carpets: If the room is not carpeted, the absence of floor coverings can make the room feel colder. However, rugs and carpets present trip hazards. High pile carpet (i.e.: shag) and high pile bathroom mats are especially concerning. If carpets and floor covering is a must, we recommend low-pile carpets with rubber or plastic backing to avoid sliding around. The community may also have to incorporate this preference in the care plan.

  • Full size or larger mattresses: This is often a big concern with couples that want to continue to share a bed. However, should it be necessary, it is very challenging for the community caregivers to provide incontinent care to residents across the surface of a large mattress. If you are having to shop for a new mattress as part of the planned transition, we recommend going small. Regardless of the mattress size, we highly recommend a high-quality mattress protector (Some communities may require this).

What to bring to the Assisted Living Community

On the what to bring list, personalization is paramount. The apartment, after all is the resident’s new home. Family pictures, a favorite reading chair, maybe the end table the phone calls home, these are important constants in a resident’s environment. Surprisingly, there are also regulations on what must be in the apartment.

Virginia regulations required the following:

  • Bed with a mattress and pillow for each resident (double beds for a married couple are approved), although highly discouraged

  • Table accessible to each bed

  • Bed lamp or a bedside light accessible to each resident

  • Chair

  • Drawer space for clothing and personal items

  • Mirror (almost certainly one will be in place in the bathroom)

  • Window coverings (most communities provide blinds or curtains)

If the resident prefers to not have the above items, (i.e.: a resident may choose to sleep in a recliner and not want a bed), those can be approved by the community if the resident’s wishes are documented in the resident’s record.

Senior transition specialists are a great resource that can guide residents and family members through every detail of the transition process. Encore Senior Advisors are happy to connect clients with these specialist.


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