Moving into a care home

When to move into a care home 


Moving into a care home is a unique experience with the potential for many mixed emotions for everyone involved. We appreciate that no two circumstances are ever the same, and there is no catch-all set of conditions for the perfect time to move into a care home; but if you are caring for yourself or for a loved one then you may have had some of the below concerns.  


Safety– is it still safe for you or your loved one to continue living in their current location? Whether it’s their own home, or if they are living with a family member, it is rare for any residential home to be completely suitable for someone as their care needs change over time. There is no dismissing the fact that stairs can be too steep, heating can be inadequate, or local public transport can be insufficient.  


Mental state– as our loved ones age the likelihood of dementia and other mentally degenerative conditions increases. This unfortunately often leads to increasing confusion and distress with running and maintaining a house of their own, and can add stress to general day-to-day activities. 


Company- it is often the case that as our elders get into the later years of their lives, they become lonely. This can be detrimental to physical and mental health and is difficult to combat, as friends and family may no longer be around or able to dedicate enough time to keep them company.  


Health supervision– caring for yourself or loved ones becomes harder and more complex as health and conditions deteriorate over time. Your local authority must give you an assessment if you appear to need care and support, regardless of your income or savings or whether the council thinks you will qualify. Once assessed, it is then possible to establish next steps based on the level of care required, as certain elements require assistance from trained and skilled carers.  


Hygiene and nutrition– a major indicator of potential care needs can be observed in an individual’s ability to maintain good nutrition and good hygiene. Whilst it is possible to get great domiciliary care for these areas, care homes can provide specialist equipment and accommodate specific needs more easily.  


All of these are factors when considering whether to move into a care home, but it is a mistake to wait for them all to occur, as the presence of any can make you or your loved one struggle. Once the decision to move into care has been made, the actual process of moving can also raise multiple emotions. It can be exciting, it can be worrying, the anticipation of moving can be stressful, but if the above factors have been assessed, then all parties should feel some relief that they are relocating to somewhere specifically set up to meet their needs and enable them to thrive. We have listed below some things you can do to reduce anxiety and make the moving and settling in process go as smoothly as possible.  


Visit beforehand 


We encourage all potential residents and their families to pay our care homes several visits before the big move-in day. When visiting make sure to pay close attention to the facilities, the surroundings, the employees and the food. It’s also a good idea to chat with other residents to get their views and begin getting to know the people you’ll be living with. 


Many employees make up a care home. If possible, try to meet the manager and other members of the leadership team, meet the chef, anyone in charge of running activities, the housekeepers, and the carers. All of these members directly impact your day-to-day life within a care home, and getting to know them and building a rapport can really boost a resident’s experience when living in a care setting. 


Familiarising yourself with the home allows you to find out what life is like in our care homes and the things you’ll enjoy about living in them.  


Complete paperwork 


Moving into a care home can involve a good amount of paperwork. Every care home group will have different policies and procedures and collect different areas of information to process a new resident moving in. As these forms and surveys can take some time to fill in, we advise completing and submitting them well before your agreed move-in date, as this ensures enough time to work through any missing info and to follow up any actions that need to be taken. Medication surveys, next of kin, power of attorney, invoicing, dietary preferences, these are just some of the various forms that need to be completed.  


It is also important to inform various authorities and figures that you are changing your address. You should send details to your doctor surgery, the local authorities at the council, any financial institutions such as banks and credit card companies, all utility providers including power, water, any insurance for buildings and contents, TV subscriptions, broadband, telephone. All of these providers will need to know that you are moving address, but it is also important to inform your friends and family. Don’t underestimate how much help and support your loved ones can give during the moving-in process, and then going forward during your stay.  


Prepare emotionally 


Moving into a care home can be a very emotionally difficult decision. Although everyone is different, the tips below might help you relieve the emotional stress. 


  • Speak with a loved one or an independent person, this can help you to think more positively about moving to a care home. 
  • Involve yourself as much as you can to ensure your needs and wishes are catered for, this will improve your living experience on arrival.  
  • Give yourself time to settle in once you’re all moved in. It takes some time to get to know people and feel comfortable. If the home offers activities you like the look of this can be a great place to start, but don’t feel pressured to join in if you’re not comfortable.  
  • If any emotional stress remains, it is important you talk to someone about it. Remember that staff at the home, medical professionals, and loved ones are all there to support you. 


What to bring 




We recommend an amount of clothes to cover you for two weeks. Different types of clothes for day and night, activities and events, which are comfortable, easy to take on and off, and that will stand up to frequent washing and drying. Try to pack for different seasons, with jumpers and coats for spring, autumn and winter, lighter clothes for summer, dressing gowns, slippers, several pairs of shoes, and the usual underwear, socks, shirts, and trousers/ dresses.  


Hygiene and personal care products- 


Most people have preferences when it comes to their favourite toiletries. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners, make-up, perfume and aftershaves, deodorants and antiperspirants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, body lotion and moisturisers, hair products, shaving equipment; all of these should be packed and brought with you on move-in day to ensure you don’t end up without a product you need.  




Whilst we provide all residents with a TV, it is a good idea to bring personal electronic devices to stay connected to your loved ones. Radios, tablets, mobile phones, laptops and personal computers, and headphones can all help you live your best life in a care home. Don’t forget extension cords and chargers for your devices! 


Decorations and personal items- 


We feel it is important to put a personal touch on your room to make it feel like home. Paintings, photographs, albums, ornaments, books, games, puzzles, hobbies such as knitting; all of these tell a story about who you are as a person and are great to decorate your room and act as talking points when our team visit you.  


Furniture and big items- 


All rooms in all our homes can include as little or as much of your furniture from home as you would like, if it is possible to do so. Furniture must be fire retardant and physically fit in the space, but beyond these requirements, you can bring desks, wardrobes, chest of drawers, nightstands, bookshelves, chairs, tables; and anything you think might make you feel more at home.  


What to do with items you can’t bring- 


There may be items you won’t be able to bring with you when moving into a care home. Going from potentially an entire house of space to just one room and storage will inevitably mean things won’t make the cut, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw them away. Friends and family may be willing to look after valuable items, or things that hold sentimental value, and if not, it is possible to arrange storage with your items. 


Move-in Day 


Employees will introduce themselves to you and your family, explaining who they are, what they do, and how they can help. Our team will continue getting to know all about your past life and interests, and any goals you want to achieve.  


We believe that moving into a care home is the start of a positive new life and we encourage new residents to explore new interests or rediscover past hobbies. We’ll also introduce you to other residents with a similar background and interests to try and forge new friendships. 


Of course, it’s up to you. If you aren’t keen on joining small group activities, we’re happy to do one-to-one activities or support in any way we can to make you comfortable if you’d prefer to watch an activity or spend time on your own. We always ask what our residents and their visitors would like to do, and whilst we encourage to take part, we respect the decision. 


At Hartford Care, we want to make sure that move-in day goes as smoothly as possible for all our new residents. To learn more about the care we offer and see additional information on the care homes available, visit our care and care home pages 

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