Preparing to move into a residential care home

What to bring, what needs doing and what to expect

Moving into a care home can be an emotional time for both the resident and their families. It may not have been planned, or even expected, but there are things you can do to help make the transition a positive one.

Preparing the Room

If someone is moving from a home they have lived in for many years, moving into new surroundings, however nice, can be unsettling. By bringing in some key personal items and mementoes to decorate the room before they arrive, can make this space seem more familiar.


  • Bringing in soft furnishings and bedding in their favourite colours and patterns, or items from their home
  • Have shelves put up so that ornaments and personal items can be displayed and seen by the resident
  • Fill the walls with treasured pictures or paintings
  • Discuss with the home any furniture you would like to bring, such as a favourite armchair (although space may be limited and you need to ensure your relative has safe access around their room).
  • If they have a favourite sent or smell, bring in diffusions or pot-pourri that will fragrance the room and make it feel familiar

How much should you pack?

This depends on the storage space in the room and also if you are able to bring in regular changes of clothes for seasonality, for example. We suggest you initially bring enough clothes and toiletries for two weeks, Pack toiletries they use as the familiar smell will help them feel at home.

Helping the staff to know your loved on

It is useful for care home staff if they can find out a bit about a new resident before they come in. One way of helping this process is to compile a Life History Book that contains key facts about the person and copies of photos that can act as a conversation opener to get them talking about special events in their life, their family and interests. If you don’t have time to compile a book, a simple story will help us get to know your relative in the early days.

Things to include in a Life History story:

  • Where did they grow up?
  • When did they get married?
  • How many children do they have? What are they doing now?
  • Did they have a favourite pet?
  • Where did they work?
  • Did they have any specific hobbies or interests?
  • What is their favourite food?
  • What kind of music do they like?

Letting people know of the move

There will be many people and organisations that you will need to contact when a loved one moves into a care home including banks, utility companies, local council, GP’s dentists, opticians to name just a few.

If possible, work with your loved one before they go into the home to pull together a list of who you will need to let know and gather the necessary paperwork and details to make the process as easy as possible. Asking your loved one where they have filed the paperwork when they are in the care home is likely to cause anxiety on both sides.

On the day

Everyone is different but we would advise that you allow yourself the day to handle the move and allow yourself time to spend helping your loved-one settle in. It is a good idea to stay and eat with them, it is worth asking the home if they will make their favourite to mark the occasion.

Find out from the home, before moving day, what will happen so you know and are able to communicate that to your loved-one so they know what to expect.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of a move to Fairways Care Home, please call us on 01472 357911

Our care philosphy

At Fairways Care Home our care philosophy is to provide a ‘home from home’ where residents receive individually tailored care, where dignity is respected and where each person’s interests are encouraged.

We cater for not only the physical needs of our residents but also focus on their social, emotional and mental needs.

Our aim is for all our residents to live their lives to the full.