Packing Essentials for New Residents Moving to a Nursing Home


There comes a time in many people’s lives when they need to move into a nursing home. It can be a difficult and emotional time, not only for the individual making a move but also for their loved ones. But while you navigate these feelings, it is also important to make this transition as smooth as possible for the elderly. 

Moving into a nursing home can be a nerve-wracking time. Although it is difficult to leave behind one’s home, packing the right items can help to make the transition smoother. By including the essentials, new residents will have everything they need to feel comfortable and happy in their new homes.

According to a survey of nursing home residents, these are the top five items that new residents wish they had packed:

-Pictures of family and friends

-Personal items such as clothing and toiletries

-Entertainment items such as books, magazines, puzzles, or games

-Comfort items such as a favorite blanket or pillow

-Items that remind the individual of their former life, such as favorite furniture or keepsakes

So, here are some essential items to pack when moving your loved one into a nursing home:

1. Mattress and bedding

While nursing homes provide mattresses, you can also bring your own if you think your loved one would have trouble adjusting to sleeping on a new mattress. Your sheets, blankets, and pillows should also be comfortable and good quality. If your loved one is used to sleeping with a particular type of pillow, pack that as well. It helps prevent bedsores and keeps your loved ones comfortable while they are sleeping. For instance, stage 1 bedsores can be painful but are not yet open wounds. However, if not treated, they can progress to stage 4, open wounds that go through the skin and into the muscle.

2. Clothing

Be sure to pack season-appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes and socks. Do not forget about a coat or sweater for colder weather. Packing a few formal outfits in case there are special occasions or events is also a good idea. In case of spills, pack a few extra changes of clothes as well. Your clothes must be comfortable and easy to put on and take off. 

3. Toiletries

Toiletries are an important part of packing for a nursing home. Pack all the essentials, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and other necessary items. Packing extra items such as razors, deodorants, and lotions is also a good idea. It is important to have these items readily available to make your loved one feel comfortable and clean.

Often, nursing homes will have these items available for purchase. However, it is important to check with the nursing home beforehand to see what they do and do not provide.

4. Medications

All medications must be packed when moving your loved one into a nursing home. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter medications. Be sure to pack enough for at least a week, as it may take some time to refill medications.

In addition, pack a list of all medications your loved one is taking. This will be helpful for the staff at the nursing home in case of an emergency.

5. Comfortable furniture

Pack some comfortable furniture from home to make the nursing home feel more like home. For example, a recliner or a favorite armchair can make a big difference. Be sure to measure the nursing home’s doorways and hallways to ensure the furniture will fit. However, ask the nursing home about their policy for bringing furniture. You would also want to avoid bringing too much furniture, as it can make the room feel cramped.

6. Personal items

Personal items such as pictures, books, or toys can make your loved one’s nursing home room feel more like home. These items can provide comfort and a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar place. So pack their journals, photo books, knitting supplies, cardboard games they enjoy, favorite books, and other personal items they use daily.

7. Essential documents

Be sure to pack essential documents such as your loved one’s birth certificate, Social Security card, Medicare card, and insurance information. The nursing home staff will need these documents to provide proper care. Also, remember to pack a copy of your loved one’s living will or power of attorney if they have one.

8. Financial information

Pack any financial information, such as bank statements, investment documents, and bills. The nursing home staff will need this information to help your loved ones with their finances. Another reason for packing financial documents is to keep them safe in an emergency. However, keep a copy of these documents at home as well.

9. Advanced directives

Advanced directives are legal documents that specify your loved one’s end-of-life wishes. These documents can include a living will, durable power of attorney for healthcare, and a do not resuscitate order. It is important to have these documents in case of an emergency. The most important thing is to ensure your loved one’s wishes are followed. However, keep a copy of these documents at home as well.

10. Contact information

Pack a list of important contact information, such as family and friends’ names and phone numbers, the primary care physician, and the nursing home staff. This will help your loved one stay connected to their support system. However, you must also keep this information up to date in an emergency. It will allow you to get in touch with the people who need to be notified.


Packing for a nursing home can seem daunting, but it is important to be prepared. Pack essential items such as clothes, toiletries, medications, and furniture. Don’t forget to pack personal items and essential documents. While it would be hard for your loved one to transition into life in a nursing home, these things can make it easier. Having familiar things will make them feel more at home and comfortable in the new space. 


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