Moving Day Tips: Moving Your Loved One into Senior Living

Your loved one has chosen their senior living community and a floor plan that fits their needs. Now it’s time to make sure the transition into the new living space is as smooth as possible. 

Moving is a challenge for anyone, but seniors often face additional challenges with rightsizing the family home, packing, and moving. The packing and moving process can be stressful and involve a lot of emotions for you as well as your loved one, so creating a plan ahead of time is important. 

To ensure you and your loved one have a positive moving experience, we’re here with a comprehensive list of tips for moving into a senior living community.

Moving to a Senior Living Community: Tips for an Efficient Move

Moving to a senior living community can involve a lot of emotions. To make the transition as smooth as possible, it’s essential to take a step back and think of all the positives of the community. For example, there may be live concerts, exercise classes, and most importantly, a tight-knit community of residents and caring staff members. Processing any emotions that come up at the beginning of the moving process is important as you tackle the moving steps listed here. 


Is it the right time to downsize? Learn about your options and get personalized results in about 4 minutes.

Take the Assessment


1. Start planning.

Starting the process early will help reduce stress for everyone involved in the move, especially your loved one. Remember, this transition is going to be the most difficult for your loved one. Once you have the move-in date on the calendar, create a plan for tasks that need to be addressed before that day and when those tasks will happen. 

Creating a to-do checklist with your loved one will help them feel involved and visualize what still needs to be done before the move-in date. It’s tempting to take over planning details, but make sure your loved one is also involved in the entire process as much as they are physically and emotionally able. This ensures they’re an active participant and helps them feel more in control of their upcoming move. 

Reduce transition stress by planning for a few visits to the new community. This gives your loved one an opportunity to see the amenities they'll soon have access to, as well as meet important staff and other residents they will be interacting with on a daily basis. Establishing a few familiar faces will help moving day feel less overwhelming by establishing the community as a comfortable environment. 

It’s critical to stay in contact with your loved one’s senior living community prior to and on moving day. It will help immensely with moving day preparations, and if there are any last-minute changes, an open line of communication will help prevent last-minute work and stress. 

2. Rightsize possessions.

It’s natural to acquire more things as we age, so once a plan is set for the transition time before the move, it’s important to rightsize possessions. This step must be done before the packing process is started in order to purposefully work on one task at a time and fully understand how to properly allocate possessions. 

To avoid becoming overwhelmed, tackle one room at a time, starting with the rooms that are used the most, such as the kitchen or living room. When rightsizing possessions with your loved one, help them determine what is most important, somewhat important, and least important. 

Begin with the largest items because these will take up the most space in the new senior living community floor plan. Once you and your loved one determine which large items will be moved, you’ll have an idea of how much space remains for other items. The least important items may be easily downsized and donated, sold, or tossed. 

3. Find a moving crew.

After you and your loved one have finished rightsizing possessions and have a visual of what items are being moved to the senior living community, determine what type of crew is needed for moving day. Start by asking the senior living community for a list of moving vendors, then reach out to friends or family for recommendations. 

4. Pack up your loved one’s possessions.

Once you’ve figured out how your loved one's items will be delivered to the community, you can get started packing. You can either hire vendors to pack and organize your loved one’s possessions, or you and other family members can assist with the physical act of packing. Because moving to a senior living community has additional complexities that other moves do not, if you do choose to hire vendors to help with packing, make sure they have experience working with seniors.

If possible, start this process in the few weeks before the move-in date to reduce stress, avoid a rush, and prevent burnout. Also, ask about respite suites at your community so your loved one has a place to stay while their items are moved into their actual apartment. If respite suites are available, they can often stay there for one week.

Moving is an emotional process that can easily become overwhelming. By spreading out the packing timeline, you and your loved one will be able to take breaks when needed.

5. Pack a separate “essential items” bag.

It may take a couple of days to unpack and organize everything. Even if your loved one’s boxes are thoroughly labeled, the number of boxes can make it very time-consuming to sort through and figure out where the essentials are. 

To avoid this stress, make sure your loved one has a separate bag of essentials that stays close to them in the car instead of going into the moving truck. The bag may include clothes, medications, toiletries, blankets, pillows, and anything related to their hobbies (for example, a book or two to read) that help them feel comfortable and settled.

6. Know what to expect on the move-in date.

The move-in date will be a very busy day, but the community team members are there to reduce the stress you and your loved one may feel. On moving day, encourage your loved one to enjoy the community’s amenities right away. This will create a positive experience and make the new community feel like home.

Keep the apartment door open on moving day. Residents of senior living communities are always curious when a new resident is moving in, and they are likely to stop by and say hello. This will help your loved one feel more at ease and quickly build relationships.

Moving days are always long and tiring, but don’t hurry home after the moving truck has been unpacked. Stay in the community for a while so you can enjoy a meal with your loved one and help them unpack as much as possible that day. It is a great experience helping to establish their first positive memory at their new home. 

Cedarhurst communities offer a unique way for our incoming residents to get settled. Our exclusive Pair to Prepare™ program encourages a new resident’s spouse, relative, or friend to stay with them for a few days at no expense to help them get settled and feel comfortable.

Ready to Rightsize for the Move?

Moving to senior living is exciting, but it can also be quite stressful. It’s important to have the right support system and plan in place to help your loved one through this transition, and that includes the supportive experts in the senior living community.

Wondering if it’s the right time for your loved one to rightsize and prepare for moving to senior living? Take our free, quick assessment to determine your next steps.


Is it the right time to downsize? Learn about your options and get personalized results in about 4 minutes.

Take the Assessment

Ready to see the community?

Schedule a Tour

LifeStyle_800x800-1 1