You've found an assisted living facility that seems just right for you at your current stage of retirement. Now it's time to plan the move, and with so many details to take care of, it can be hard to know where to begin.
The key to a low-stress move is an easy-to-follow plan. Here, we will provide a moving to assisted living checklist to address everything from paying your bill to packing your belongings so you can get a head start on your new retirement lifestyle.
Shore Up Your Finances
When you first began considering this move, you may have wondered, "does Medicare cover assisted living?" Medicare does not pay for assisted living in most cases, but there are alternatives that can help you transition into assisted living affordably. Be sure to take the following steps as you finalize your funding plans:
- Consider purchasing long-term care insurance. If you already have a policy, review how best to use your benefits.
- Decide whether you will sell your home, car or other major assets to help cover the costs.
- Consider whether you want to ask family members for financial assistance.
Plan Your Health Care
As you develop your moving to assisted living checklist, be sure to address the following matters related to health care.
- Decide on your primary care provider. Will you continue using your existing doctor or switch to someone at a medical facility closer to or affiliated with the assisted living facility?
- Choose your pharmacy. If there is an on-site pharmacy, will you transfer prescriptions there? If you decide to keep them at your existing pharmacy, make sure you have pick-up arrangements in place.
- Review your medication management plan. Most assisted living centers offer residents help with taking their medicines on a schedule if they need it.
Pare Down and Pack Up
Chances are good that your assisted living apartment will be smaller than your current home, so you'll need to leave some household belongings behind.
- Start the downsizing process weeks, if not months, before you plan to move. Go through each room of the house one by one, placing different-colored sticky notes on items you want to sell, donate, give away, recycle or discard. Ideally, a few family members or friends could help with this task.
- Stick mainly to the essentials when you're deciding what to keep. For instance, you might want to keep a bed, a small sofa, a few chairs, an eating table, cookware, dishware and some cleaning supplies.
- Bring along a few decorative items, personal mementos and hobby supplies as well to make living in your new space enjoyable.
Make Arrangements for the Move
- If you're enlisting family members or friends to assist you on move-in day, make sure your schedules are lined up and that you've coordinated with the assisted living center staff.
- If you'll be hiring a professional moving service, ask friends and family who have been through a similar move for referrals and check any references that the movers provide.
- Get in-person, written cost estimates from several moving companies, if you plan to use one.
- Ask about any additional fees that may apply, such as charges for fuel or equipment.
- Make sure you've taken care of other details related to your move, such as completing a post office change of address form, canceling household services so bills won't keep coming to your old address, and sharing your new contact information with family and friends.
Get Your Documents in Order
- Make sure the assisted living center has all the required paperwork. Note that many facilities will ask for documentation of your income and assets to ensure you can keep up with payments over time.
- Review the details of your contract with the facility, and have a representative address any unanswered questions.
Moving to assisted living involves considerable planning, as you'll have to review your finances, your health care, lots of paperwork and your plans for the move itself. As you do so, you can refer back to this moving to assisted living checklist to make the experience easier and less stressful.
Remember that you can always ask for assistance with this transition if you need it. Seek help from experts in senior care and financial planning, and get your family members involved so that they understand how your needs and their roles may change once you move into your new place.