What to bring when moving into a nursing home: An essential packing checklist

Although moving into a nursing home often means downsizing from a house or an apartment to a single room, you mustn’t think of it as being shut away. You’re going there to carry on living well, with grace and dignity — your postcode might change, but you don’t have to.

To that end, you should pack those things to make a room your home. And while deciding what to bring when moving into a nursing home can feel stressful, with the right checklist, you can make sure it all goes smoothly.

In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions and tips based on our years of experience helping residents settle into their new surroundings.

What to bring when moving into a nursing home?

Before we get to the checklist, a word of advice for family members who may be reading this: Try and set up the room ahead of time, if possible. That way it feels familiar and far less daunting on move-in day. 

You may also wish to decorate the room so that it’s similar to your loved one’s home; displaying personal items, nick-nacks, stuffed animals, pictures, paintings, books, games, and other cherished belongings can trigger happy memories and help them settle quickly.

Remember to ask: What’s included in the price?

One of the first questions you should ask when visiting a care home for the first time is: What’s included as part of the fee? In most cases, you can still bring your own items with you (as we’ll discover below), but knowing that you don’t have to supply your own bedding, for example, can mean one less thing to worry about.

Your essential nursing home packing checklist:

1. Furniture

Depending on the size and layout of your room, you may be able to bring some of your own furniture with you. This can help you make the room feel more comfortable and familiar. However, you must ensure that any furniture you bring into the nursing home complies with safety regulations.

Consider bringing:

  • A wardrobe
  • Your favourite chair
  • Chest of drawers
  • Bedside table
  • Bookcase
  • Reading lamp

2. Clothes

We recommend packing enough clothes for two full weeks, including clothing for indoor and outdoor activities, formal events, and nightwear. Clothing should be comfortable and stand up to frequent washing and drying.

Consider packing:

  • T-shirts, tops, or blouses
  • Jumpers or cardigans
  • Skirts, dresses, or trousers
  • Socks, tights, and underwear
  • Slippers
  • Indoor shoes
  • Outdoor shoes (two pairs)
  • Activewear for exercising or outdoor activities
  • Warm coats for the cold weather
  • Light jackets for warmer weather
  • Hats, scarves, gloves
  • A few sets of pyjamas or nightgowns
  • A dressing gown
  • A few formal outfits for events or parties

3. Bed linen, pillows, and towels

Typically, the nursing home will provide all of the bedding and towels as part of the cost. However, if you have a preference for a specific style or fabric, you can, of course, bring your own. Just make sure to speak with the nursing home staff ahead of time to be sure that your bedding can be laundered.

Consider packing:

  • A favourite quilt, blanket or throw
  • A shawl or lap blanket
  • Sheets 
  • Bath and hand towels
  • Pillows and pillowcases

4. Personal care & hygiene products

Again, some nursing homes provide toiletries as part of the fee, while others may charge extra. Either way, if you wish to bring personal care products that you’re familiar with, you can.

Consider packing:

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hand soap
  • Perfume or aftershave
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Scented lotions and moisturizers
  • Make-up
  • A razor and shaving cream/foam
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Hairstyling products

5. Electronics, books and hobbies

Electronic devices can help you stay connected with your friends and family, while also providing entertainment and information. Just remember to pack chargers, cables and batteries where necessary — and make sure your electronics are certified safe.

Meanwhile, books, magazines, puzzles, and other hobbies are great ways to stimulate your mind, while also helping you socialise with other residents.

Consider bringing:

  • TV (remember the remote and batteries)
  • DVD player (and DVDs)
  • Radio or MP3 player
  • Headphones
  • Smartphone and/or tablet
  • Laptop
  • Extension cords and chargers
  • Books, magazines, or an e-reader
  • Puzzles, games, or hobbies such as knitting, arts & crafts, or a musical instrument (within reason — your baby grand piano might not fit in your room)

What can’t you bring?

Truthfully, there’s almost nothing you can’t bring with you. It simply comes down to the space available in your room. But, from a practical standpoint, you need to consider the equipment you require in order to live well (such as hoists or other apparatus). This is why we recommend visiting early, prior to your move-in date.

And unfortunately, there will be items that you won’t be able to bring, due to their size or practicality. This can be challenging, both logistically and emotionally, and you may need to sell or give away items prior to moving. We recommend leaving enough time to do so.

Would you like to talk?

We’ve found that, for many residents, knowing what to pack and bring was the first step in coming to terms with moving into a nursing home. Creating a familiar, comfortable environment is vital, too.

That’s why, at Fulford Nursing Home, we work with each resident and their loved ones to make move-in day as smooth and as hassle-free as possible.
If you’d like to talk with one of our friendly staff members about this, or anything else, please contact us on 01904 654 269. We’re ready to listen and happy to help.