The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

Posted by The Bristal  |

Packing List: What to Bring to Assisted Living

Moving and downsizing can be significant life events. Whether you are moving across town, out of state, or to an assisted living community — excitement, anticipation, frustration, and worry are to be expected. 

Seniors planning to transition to an assisted living community often spend the months and weeks before their move downsizing, organizing their belongings, deciding what to pack, and preparing to sell their homes, which can add an additional layer of stress. 

Keep in mind that plenty of organizations can assist you — don’t hesitate to contact an expert, like a senior move manager or a professional organizer. The Director of Community Relations at most assisted living communities, such as The Bristal, can also be a great resource — they can provide you with a list of trusted professionals in your area. 

While many items are provided for you at an assisted living community, there are a few key things that new residents should consider packing. Remember that your new residence will likely be smaller than your current one. To make the process easier for seniors and their families, The Bristal has developed the following suggested packing checklist for a move to assisted living.

Click on the graphic below to download or print your free copy. ↓


Moving to Assisted Living Checklist

If you have questions regarding what items will fit, contact the Director of Community Relations, who is ready to help you. When packing, we recommend referring to your list and creating an inventory of your items based on the rooms you will have in your new space. 

To simplify your packing list, we’ve divided it into five categories:

1. Kitchenette Essentials

Cupboard filled with kitchen essentials

  • Glassware (service for 4) 
  • Dishware (service for 4)
  • Utensils (service for 4) 
  • Coffee cups (service for 4)
  • Coffee pot (must be Underwriter’s Laboratory “UL” approved. You can find this approval on a tag on the cord of the appliance.)
  • Paper towels
  • Sponges and kitchen towels
  • Dish soap
  • General pantry staples 
  • Trash can

2. Bathroom Necessities

 bathroom necessities

  • Soap dish
  • Soap 
  • Toothbrush holder 
  • Bathroom cup 
  • Non-slip bathmat
  • Extra towels 
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, body lotion, etc.)
  • Small wastebasket
Related: Preparing for a Senior Move: Where to Start With Downsizing and Decluttering >>

3. Bedroom Items

clothes on hangers in closet

  • Hangers
  • Furniture (bed, dresser, nightstand)
  • Clothes (including pajamas, robe, undergarments, swimsuit)
  • Non-skid slippers
  • Shoes (including walking shoes)
  • Bedding (comforter and 2 sets of sheets)
  • Reading lamp 
  • Extra pillows and blankets 
  • Mattress pad
  • Nightlight

4. Living Room Must-Haves

living room items

  • Television
  • Bluetooth speaker/radio
  • Laptop/tablet and cell phone 
  • Window treatments (mini-blinds are typically provided) 
  • Furniture (sofa or loveseat, recliner, coffee table, end table) 
  • Artwork and family photos
  • Lamps 

Related: What to Do Before a Transition to Assisted Living >>

5. Miscellaneous Objects

knitting hobby items

  • Medications
  • Batteries 
  • Clock 
  • Flashlight
  • Hobby supplies
  • Power strips

What NOT to Pack for a Move to Assisted Living

two piles of clothing labeled discard and keep

For many residents moving into an assisted living community, deciding what to keep and let go can be difficult. We suggest you put some items at the top of your “leave behind” list. 

Items you should consider gifting, donating, or selling before you move include: 

  • Large, unwieldy furniture items
  • Throw rugs or area rugs, which can be a slipping or tripping hazard
  • Sprawling collections that take up a lot of space, like excessive amounts of pantry staples 
  • Belongings that are currently in storage because they are rarely used 

Remember that if you have any questions about what to pack for your new home, the staff will be more than happy to advise you. Reach out well before your arrival with any questions you may have.

More to Explore in Assisted Living

Discover more about assisted living options here at The Bristal. Learn how to make it easier to transition to assisted living, get answers about assisted living costs, find tips for choosing the right community, and more. 

Find More Resources


This blog was originally published in July 2020. It was updated in October 2023.


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