When moving into any new space, including assisted living, it can be comforting to have some of your favorite and familiar furniture with you. Each piece holds memories that can ease the transition into the new and unknown. Luckily, in most places, mom can bring some of her prized pieces with her when she moves into her new room to help her adjust.
But even though her furniture can go with her, it doesn’t mean that everything should come along. Since her new space will be much smaller in scale than before, it’s important to be selective about what makes the trip with her. Thinking strategically ahead of time will help you and your mom make the best choices for what should be loaded on the moving van, what should be replaced, and what should be donated, stored, or sold.
Where should we start?
The best starting point in selecting which furniture to bring is to get in touch with the assisted living facility to find out if they have any particular restrictions, how much space mom will have in her new room, and what is already provided. They may even have a packing list already created to guide your furniture selections. At our locations here in Indiana, we love assisting people in making the transition as smooth as possible, so we’re happy to help with any furniture questions.
Be sure to ask for the room dimensions to help you pare down your list of furniture to bring right off the bat. Knowing the layout of the room can help you figure out which furniture best supports an easy-to-maneuver space. And don’t forget to find out what type of furniture is already provided in the room and common spaces. If mom enjoys getting out of her room to mingle with others, a couch in her own room might be overkill if there are already a few in the shared spaces. If she enjoys a lot of quiet time to herself, a small loveseat of her own may be beneficial to bring if it fits well in her space.
Which furniture should be on the moving list?
Now that you and mom know what space you have to work with and which furniture is already provided, you can think about the few pieces that make the most sense to bring. Using a typical day as a guideline, you can identify which pieces are used most on any given day from morning to night. A bed and nightstand bookend our days and should be a top consideration to make the move unless they are already provided and meet mom’s needs. A comfortable and easy-to-get-in and-out-of seating option is another frequently used piece. Most people need a small tabletop of some sort for eating or writing, and some type of storage for clothes, books, etc. Versatile pieces that provide double-duty should be a high priority on the moving list, such as a bed or table that has a storage component built into it. Those types of pieces provide twice the function in mom’s new apartment while taking up the same amount of space.
Once you have your list narrowed down, it is a good idea to examine each piece and make sure it is durable and in good condition before loading it into the moving truck. If the bed is going with mom, but the mattress is not as supportive as it used to be, now is a good time to replace it and start fresh
Which furniture should be on the donate/store/sell list?
For everything else that didn’t make the moving list, you can donate, store, or sell it. This includes large and clunky pieces that would make mom’s new room difficult to maneuver through safely. It also includes furniture that is likely to collect clutter. While it’s important to bring some of mom’s sentimental keepsakes, overloading a small space with too many knick-knacks can lead to safety issues and also be a pain to keep clean. So while that beautiful china cabinet with all the shelves and drawers seems like a good storage opportunity, it might end up collecting too many extra trinkets that crowd the space.
Also consider leaving out furniture that can put things out of reach. A tall bookcase, for example, might not be the most accessible option when you consider that the books on the lowest and top shelves might be hard for mom to bend down to, or reach up to. Any piece of furniture that is not accessible for mom now, or as she gets older, should be on the donate/store/sell list.
Durability, accessibility, and versatility is the name of the game when it comes to selecting the best furniture to make the trip with mom into assisted living. With a few carefully selected pieces, mom can bring a bit of her personality into her new space and make her new surroundings just a bit more familiar.