The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

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Memory Care Checklist: What to Pack for the Move

Moving into a memory care community can be stressful for both you and your loved one. According to CaringKind, it’s common for feelings of agitation, anger, and sadness to surface during and after the move.

Having a plan for what items to include while packing can help ease the transition and make a real difference in your loved one’s comfort level. 

Every memory care community will have its own guidelines for what items are acceptable and what are not. Discuss with the Director of Community Relations before the move so there are no surprises. The Bristal team has prepared the following memory care checklist to help caregivers ensure their loved one’s move to a community goes as smoothly as possible.

Packing list for moving to a memory care community

Memory Care Checklist for Moving to a Memory Care Community

Since your loved one’s new apartment is likely smaller than their previous accommodations, checking with the Director of Community Relations is a good idea to ensure everything will fit. It’s important to remember your loved one’s preferences and abilities while packing. You can download the memory care checklist above as your guide on what to pack. 

Furniture and Room Set-up

Keep in mind that familiarity and functionality are key. Including items that your loved one is familiar with can help them feel more at ease, while easy-to-operate items can help lessen confusion and frustration. Consider the following: 

  • Your loved one’s favorite comforter or blanket. Prevent tripping by making sure the bedding doesn’t hang too close to the floor.
  • Furniture that is familiar, as well as functional. For instance, drawers that are easy to open and close, or a bed that is easy to get in and out of, etc.
  • Artwork or décor that is familiar to your loved one. Favorite paintings, photos of family and friends labeled with names, and artwork from grandchildren are all good ideas.
  • Clock with a large display that is easy to read.
  • Television and/or radio. This may also include CDs or playlists of favorite songs that are restful and soothing.
  • Easy remote control for the TV.
  • Additional lamps, as well as night lights.
  • Contrasting colors for visual ease.

Informational Album

To help the team members at the memory care community get to know your loved one quickly, create an album that includes pictures and information about them. Include their likes and dislikes, as well as fun stories that demonstrate your loved one’s unique personality. Additionally, the album may be a source of reminiscence therapy to soothe your loved one while they are adjusting to a new environment.

Related: What is daily life like in a memory care community?


While selecting garments to pack, keep your loved one’s independence in mind. Choose items that are comfortable, as well as easy to put on and remove.

  • Washable clothing. Many memory care communities use hot water and hot dryers, so include durable items that won’t shrink.
  • Labels on all of your loved one’s clothing.
  • Shoes that are comfortable, nonskid, and properly fitted.
  • Cardigans, sweaters, or vests your loved one can wear if they become chilly.
  • Labels on glasses or hearing aids. Consider a tether for glasses to help prevent them from getting lost.

Don’t overwhelm your loved one by packing their dresser or closet with too many clothes. You may want to consider switching out clothing for each season — use a bin that can fit under their bed or in their closet.

Personal Hygiene

If you plan to pack your loved one’s hairdryer, curling iron, or electric razor, check with the Director of Community Relations first for guidance on how those items are handled. Plan to pack the following items for personal use:

  • Toiletries, make-up, costume jewelry, a toothbrush holder, and a cup.
  • Hand soap and body wash — preferably in a pump container rather than bar soap.
  • An additional set of towels, washcloths, and bed linens.
  • Labels for all their toiletries.

Items Not to Pack

Caregivers should check with the memory care community for a list of items that are not permitted, as they may pose a risk to your loved one or other residents. The following is a list of what you should not bring to memory care:

  • Over-the-counter medications — both topical and oral.
  • Cleaning supplies and/or cleaning wipes.
  • Sharp objects like scissors, razors, nail clippers, metal nail files, and kitchen knives.
  • Alcohol, cigarettes, and lighters.
  • Area rugs, as they can be a tripping hazard.
  • Financial items like a Social Security card, checkbook, or active credit cards.
  • Small electrical appliances like coffeemakers, toasters, fans, or irons.
  • Items that could be dangerous if ingested — paint, certain toiletries, nail polish remover, etc.

Explore More Caregiver Resources

Are you still looking for a memory care community for your loved one? Or maybe you’re seeking strategies for communicating with a loved one in the mid to late stages of dementia. 

Find more tips for caregivers in our free resource, A Caregiver’s Guide to
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. This guide includes more than 20 pages of information to help you care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. 

The Bristal Memory Care Guide

This blog was originally published in 2021. It was updated in March 2024.


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