What should I bring with me when I move into an Adult Family or Nursing Home in the Shoreline area?

Everyone has their own preferences, but I have definitely seen some favorites when it comes to what people seem to want to have around them a little while after they have arrived to live indefinitely in an Adult Family Home. Pictures of family members, a handful of memories, and little else.

Clothes can make a person feel at home quickly

I used to scoff at my own father many years ago when we all headed out in the station wagon for our summer vacation. Top of his list was his own favorite set of pajamas. They were a little worse for wear – most people would have thrown them out years earlier – but he said they were only coming into the best part of their life at that point. They weren’t worn thread bare, but in today’s consumer culture, we like to dispense with the old in favor of the new, even when it doesn’t make complete sense, it seems. Well, your aging parent likely has some favorite items. It might be a set of sweats they like to wander around in the house in, or a small radio they have become attached to. Even in my fifties, there are definitely some thing I like to have with me at all times. An old pair of clogs, for instance. I have owned then for perhaps eighteen years at this point, but they are so worn, they fit my feet now perfectly. They’re battered up a bit, and would not last much longer if I were to continue to wear them outside, but I don’t have to worry about that if I keep them indoors. Most elderly people I know have such ‘favorite’ items in their lives. Be sure to know what those are, and to have them with your loved on on the first day at their new home away from home.

A move at any age comes with its challenges

Moving living space can be a strain. Even seemingly minor changes in our living space can have an effect on us – think about how toddlers can react when their furniture is moved around – so it’s easy to see how an elderly person might be upset by a move, especially if it is perceived as a permanent, ‘final’ move. Well, the good news is, an Adult Family Home is going to be fully decked out and ready to move into from the very first moment your loved one arrives. Aside from the state laws requiring what the condition of the place must be, your parent is not going to find themselves surrounded by boxes of stuff, which could be expected when a family moves from one home to another. Walking into a manicured room and the comfort of it all, makes the transition much easier. In many cases, an Adult Family Home resident is moving into nicer circumstances than what they have been used to.

Pictures of everyone

In most cases, when someone is moving into an Adult Family Home, they are already grandparents, or even great-grandparents. If they have been living with their own adult children for some time, they likely have bonded (again) with their owns kids and grandkids. They will have had reminders of their loved ones all around them. Indeed, those people were living all around them, every day, and in every way. Immediately after the move to an Adult Family Home, those reminders – and the people themselves – are not there every day anymore. It would have been one thing had the whole family moved to another house to live in, but quite something else to move residence and not see your loved ones, and all this at the same time. For that reason, I recommend preparing a complete set of framed photos you can take with your parent to their new residence. Consider going all out on this project, and doing an excellent, professional job. It might be a single frame with many photos inserted into it, or a set of individual frames that can be given to them as a gift on the Big Day of the move.

Particular tastes in food and snacks

A good Adult Family Home will be well equipped to cater for almost any food requirement. Most will deliver quality, fresh meals for diabetics, vegetarians and in some cases, people with nut allergies of even vegans. It must be said, however, that the latter two categories take considerable care and work. A strict vegan diet, for example, take a lot of planning and preparation, and is a bit unusual in the world of Adult Family Homes. Almost any other requirement, though, is usually easy enough to accommodate. In fact, everyone in the home will benefit from a diet that is largely geared towards diabetics in general. My own father developed type 1 diabetes, quite suddenly, when he was about thirty years of age. My mother went all out to understand what she needed to do to keep my father alive and well. She often said, once she understood the food requirements, it’s a perfectly healthy diet for all of us. She came to learn that sugar, for example, was a bit of a poison of sorts. Anyway, the thing to remember is, to ask for what your loved one needs. It’s likely almost anything would be accommodated, and it is also likely they are already doing a lot of this already.

Get ahead of the task by having these food conversations with the management of the Adult Family Home long before your loved one moves in. Being served that favorite meal on the first day on their residence could be the perfect thing. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Bring the extended family on the Big Move

I know dragging your kids out on a wet Sunday afternoon can be a real chore. I hated it when I was a kid, and my own kids tortured me when we did it to them, but the whole big move should be celebrated as a big deal. Take everyone with you, if you can, and consider it a big event to be photographed and celebrated like a wedding or a baptism would be. Dress up for the event and let your loved one know that they are still loved, respected, and will be missed. Remember that the one thing they can’t take with them is their loved ones. That’s you and your family.