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5 Tips for Preparing a Senior or Parents for Moving into Assisted Living

When the time comes to transition your senior or parent to an assisted living or memory care community, you may face several challenges. While you know it is in their best interest, they may initially disagree. 

Your senior may have planned to spend the remaining portion of their life in their home. You and your loved one will likely have many memories in the house they will be leaving, making the transition an emotional journey.  

Showing a senior parent the positive side to moving and remaining optimistic about what they have to look forward to may make the transition easier. 

Looking into the future and planning ahead will make a move less stressful and possibly even enjoyable. When your senior loved one knows they will receive the best care and that you are there for them every step of the way, they will feel more confident in the decision to transition.

5 Strategies to Simplify the Transition when Moving into Assisted Living 

It’s normal for you and your loved one to have difficult emotions around the transition but it’s not too late to work through those and make changes that will provide them with the best quality of life going forward.

There are various strategies that will help your senior ease into their new lifestyle. 

1. Discuss the Move

When discussing the move with your loved one, stay positive and mention the , such as support, socializing, enrichment activities, and dining services. Often, seniors who live alone are lonely, and moving to a community decreases their loneliness. 

Your senior should be part of the planning process, so it is critical you ask them what type of amenities they would enjoy having at their new home. Finding a good fit will give them a reason to be excited about their move. 

2. Plan Ahead

Before making any decisions, you will need to determine your seniors finances and how they will pay for their new home. 

Once you have created a list of possible homes with the amenities and services your senior needs, you can begin taking tours. After finding the perfect choice, the next step would be to ask for a layout of where they will be moving. 

With a layout of their new home, you can plan how you will set it up and know what will and won’t fit. 

3. Downsize 

Many seniors have collected many belongings over the years. It is unlikely that all of the items in their home can come with them, as their new home already comes with much of what they need. 

Downsizing will likely be a large task, so you will want to go room by room with your senior loved one and decide what they want to keep, donate, sell, or throw away. 

For tips on decluttering, downsizing, and letting go of tangible items, The Kensington Falls Church recommends watching Matt Paxton’s virtual discussion “The most important museum may be in your parent’s basement”. 

4. Setup Your Senior’s New Living Space

To make your loved one feel at home, the first thing you should do is begin unpacking their most memorable things. Once they start to see their personal belongings, they will feel like they belong there. 

Sitting on their couch or in their favorite chair and seeing photographs of their loved ones will make them feel more comfortable and relaxed. It will no longer be a strange place but will become a familiar one. 

5. Visit Often 

You shouldn’t go too long without visiting your senior loved one when they first move into their new home. It could make them feel abandoned and even resent you for moving them. 

Frequent visits will be important when they first transition to their new home since it will be unfamiliar. Once your senior begins to build and maintain friendships and a more active lifestyle, you can cut back on your visits if you must. 

To learn how you can make your visits with your senior loved one more purposeful and meaningful listen to Melissa Long’s event recording

How to Handle Doubts and Stay Positive

Your aging parent may have their doubts about moving, so you must learn to be patient with them. One day they may be excited to move, while they may feel anxious or overwhelmed the next. 

Rather than ignoring your senior’s fears, be sensitive to them. Often, their worries will stem from uncertainty. Answer any questions and address all of their concerns to help them feel less indecisive. 

You can find excellent resources and information on Kensington Falls Church Konnect page. Being prepared and learning what to expect will help you and your family feel more confident with your decision to transition your senior.

Before your senior loved one’s move, they will be asked to fill out a “life story”, to help their new community learn their personality and understand their needs. 

Be realistic about the transition. If your senior is unhappy at first, don’t try to downplay their feelings. Just know in time, they will adjust and understand that their move to a new home is a positive decision. 

What to Bring For a Move to an Assisted Living Community

Since your senior will need to downsize, a checklist for moving into assisted living may come in handy. Below is a list of items your parent or loved one may want to bring with them.

Personal Items

  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aid 
  • Jewelry or sentimental items
  • Photos and keepsakes
  • Toiletries
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Purse or wallet
  • Cane, walker, wheelchair
  • Legal and financial documents


  • Shirts and pants
  • Light sweaters and jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Winter jacket
  • Hats, gloves, scarves
  • Undergarments
  • Socks
  • Pajamas
  • Robe and slippers
  • Shoes


  • Computer
  • Phone
  • Tablet or iPad
  • Chargers
  • Radio 
  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Cards
  • Board games
  • Other hobby supplies


  • Pictures 
  • Art frames
  • Plants and flowers
  • Clock
  • Mirror
  • Lamps 


  • Hangers
  • Hampers
  • Linens
  • Towels

The Kensington Falls Church – Your Partners in Care and Transitioning a Loved One to a New Home

Moving an elderly parent to an assisted living or memory care community can be difficult. You may feel guilty, confused, and unsure if it’s the right decision, especially if they are unhappy about the transition. 

The Kensington Falls Church has made it Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own. We hope that this helps our residents’ families feel more confident and comfortable with their decision. 

To support our residents and help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, our enhanced communities offer a professional team of healthcare providers, high acuity care, on-site rehabilitation services, life enrichment activities, healthy and delicious dining services, and secure grounds

Contact us to learn more about our cozy memory care neighborhoods and assisted living community. 

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