Preparing for the Transition to
Assisted Living (Memory Care) – Part III
Packing Clothing for Your Loved One
As your loved one’s move into assisted living (memory care) approaches, you’ll need to start thinking about what clothing to pack. Since they will have a fairly limited amount of storage space, you’ll want to pack very deliberately. A typical assisted living unit is most certainly not going to accommodate your loved one’s entire wardrobe. Therefore, you’ll want to carefully select the appropriate amount and types of articles of clothing.
A good guideline to use when packing for assisted living is how you would pack for a child going off to camp or college, except for the fact that your child would probably be spending a lot more time outdoors and a lot of their clothing might be specific to the prevailing weather. In general, you’ll probably want to pack somewhere between ten and twelve days’ worth of clothing with the expectation that laundry will be done weekly.
It’s a good idea to label each article of clothing with your loved one’s name. Writing their first name and last initial with permanent marker in the same spot on each type of article, such as the inside of the collar for shirts, should be sufficient. This practice is especially important in a memory care community where articles of clothing get misplaced frequently by virtually all the residents.
To fully prepare your loved one with what they need, you’ll want to pay special attention to the amount of certain items. First, you may want to pack a few extra pairs of pants if your loved one struggles with incontinence. Even though they’ll undoubtedly be wearing incontinence briefs, their pants will often still get a little wet at times and, as a result, they may need to change pants more frequently. Next, you’ll want to pack some extra socks. While almost everyone misplaces the occasional sock on laundry day and winds up with mismatched pairs, residents in assisted living frequently misplace socks and end up running low quite often. Be sure to write your loved one’s name on the socks and choose them so they’re easy to match into pairs.
It might seem overly anal, but it will probably be helpful to make a list of the items you want to pack before starting. Again, this is going to be an emotional time for everyone involved, so it can be easy to forget things. As with other aspects of transitioning into assisted living, a little extra planning can go along way.