Soon we will be moving my 86 year old MIL into an assisted living facility. She will have a small studio - more of a room w/ a bathroom than an apartment. We will bring some of her personal items, but most of what she owns will not be fit to bring. She was very frugal and cleanliness was/is an issue so we cannot bring any of her linens or furniture. Her bed pillows are so thin you wouldn't know they were pillows and are probably 40 years old (seriously). I tried to replace them, but she refused. Knowing there is no way we or the facility will let them move with her we will be buying her new items. I'm looking for advice on what to shop for - colors that work for aging & health, things that are easy to use (lamps with pulls vs. twist), storage, any items to buy I may not know I should. Arthritis in her hands will be a consideration. Taking her shopping physically or on-line is not something for us to do at this time. Here are some things my sister-in-law and I will be looking for:

Furniture -
Twin bed (should we get an adjustable one now?)
Small table (for paperwork, snacks, etc)
Floor lamp
Table lamp
Chest of drawers

Sheets (no silk, I'm assuming so she won't slide out of bed!)
Shower curtain
Dish towels

Dishes (very few)
Silverware (very few)
Waste baskets (for bathroom and main area)

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Litldogtoo, I have gotten many great suggestions from this post and do not believe it comes from a position of "over think", the same could be said for the amount of thought and research we put into finding a rehab/a.l. facility that would be a wonderful fit for her. It all comes from a position of wanting to do our best for someone and learning from those who have traveled down this road with their loved ones. In fact, one suggestions was put in to play today. It was suggested to see if she can paint the walls. I never would have thought to ask that, but I did and they will now take her color samples before they paint her new studio so that she can be involved from the start. She has no bedside light now so the suggestion that we get a touch or a pull lamp was helpful. As far as the pillow goes - it is a matter of health. She is also attached to her 40+ year old odorous and urine stained mattress, but it will not be coming - again, that is a health decision. We will fix her chest of drawers (broken drawer and broken leg - on books now) and move it to her new studio. She steadfastly, refused to let us fix it when she was at the house. **On a side note. I managed to hold it together today. While visiting mil's new room to be I got a call from the funeral home letting me know my own mama's ashes and death certificates were ready to pick up. I has been such a difficult 2 1/2 wks, but I have much to be thankful for. Now I think I'll go to bed and have a little weep :(
Helpful Answer (8)

YES on the adjustable bed, but NO rails on it. A bedskirt will make it look homier. Mom has an under bed box for storage. She also likes her little radio for listening to NPR or classic music. The facility provides her with towels and linens, which were nicer than her own. Do NOT get her a fridge, it will end up filled with rotting leftovers. Remember, NO irons, hairdryers or electric blankets or anything else that generates heat. NO over the counter meds or even vitamins--- all that stuff goes to the nurse's office. We got written MD orders for PRN (as needed) Tylenol and Dulcolax. Label every item with her name, even the TV remote. (mom got hers mixed up with the facility remote).
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Kudos to you! You seem to have given this a lot of thought. Too bad you can't bring at least one side table, favorite chair, blanket, rug, etc. it can be very comforting if you can "recreate" some piece of home for your loved one vs all new as its a lot to get used too and settle in when everything's new and sterile...

If there is a way to clean an old blanket, or cut up some of the items, then re sew into a quilt or lap blanket might be comforting. Hang her favorite pictures, print, family pictures on the wall where she is likely to sit and can see them.

Consider painting a wall her favorite color.

If you can get a nice new easy chair with an electronic lift--they are wonderful and appreciated by elders. Bed, bath, beyond has some nice magazine, remote, phone holders that can hang on side of chair and make items convenient for her.

As for dishes and flatware --bring the ones she loves from matter how much you like or don't like them, her own glasses, cups, saucer.

Again, it's hard to start over and the more things she brings from her old home, and mixed with new, the more comforting it will be.
Maybe hang some secure hooks on the wall, low where she can easily reach for her to hang jacket, sweater, hat.

Look for lamps that she can just push a switch at the base and can turn on and off easily.

A TV you can mount on the wall low for her would be nice and conserves space.
I'd just keep in mind "mom's" taste and not matter how much we're tempted to decorate to our taste.

Best wishes to mom in her new digs.
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My mthr was a hoarder so we started with nothing. The facility provided her a twin bed, bedside table, and lamp. I went online and bought a pair of "leather" club chairs (small and perfect for elder, also at Sam's club). They are lightweight and we had 6-8 screws to do on each for about 150 each. Bought a tv stand, table w drawer, desk. clothes hangers. Smart tv with dvd included was mistake, she'd never used a remote before and broke it in a few mos.

If I had to do this over, I would have gone to the Hospice Thrift store I've since discovered and bought her stuff there. It's from the same era as she owned, just cleaner, but nothing upholstered because of mites and bedbugs. Buy old pretty dishes and teacup there too. The only thing that was "hers" was the new family portrait on the wall and the college diplomas I had remade by the college. She had lost hers decades before, and was still in shape enough to recognize them.
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Colors: Take a cue from what she already has. Soft tones & pastels are more soothing/less agitating. Please try to save as much of what she has as possible - drastic change is just that - drastic. Big yes on silk arrangements. My mom has many & enjoys them tremendously. All dolled up & cozy.
When you have everything set up and move her in, ask if it suits her and would she arrange it differently a week later. Please don't be heartbroken if she doesn't like it. You can make it work eventually. Don't hang all the art ahead of time & ask where she wants it. "I wasn't sure where to put this, what do you think/where would you like it?" Give her some control, it's important.
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Bed Bath and Beyond have an inexpensive chrome device that hangs from the top closet rail to create a second rail, great for someone who can't reach up to hang a garment, but can still be in control of the garment situation. Mom balked, but now loves it. i think it was $20. (It's also adjustable.) I found these little things helped alot.
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Teaka, you don't mention why MIL is moving to AL but take into consideration her challenges, present and future. Visit the AL and/or ask for a list of suggested items, I am sure they have it. Some items on the lists here were provided at my Mom's and MIL's AL.

A few ideas - A lift chair. Sam's club has them for much less than other places. The limited colors (if you go this route) will be the start of color selections for MIL's new room. At MIL's place,we have dishes/bowls/glassware for 4. Truly, only the glasses get used. I agree with the idea of going to a thrift shop for that type of thing, the selections near me are terrific and the cost is nothing.

Add an inexpensive vase so flowers arriving wrapped in paper have someplace to go . Don't forget health and beauty items --- body wash/lotion, shampoo, dental stuff, etc. Dish detergent, sponges. In both places we used, linens and shower curtains were provided. Make sure EVERYTHING is washable. And don't be afraid to take things home or use the machines at the AL to wash items. The staff doesn't have time to do that. Will you need a shower floor mat? Or something to step on when exiting the shower? Add a non breakable bathroom cup. I wouldn't spend a fortune on the comforter, they get hard use in a facility. One of the off price chains might be better so you don't gulp when it's time to toss it ( stains, communicable diseases, etc). Keep the TV stuff VERY simple. Actually, if you can get an old fashioned TV, MIL might actually be able to work it!

Wall hanging might be a big family photo, a stenciled phrase meaningful to MIL (Available in dept store Kohl's for instance), a family photo album, any religious items that may be important. Drawer organizers (cutlery, jewelry, scarves). She will also need a phone (keep it simple) , paper and pencil, greeting cards, address book, stamps, playing cards or game books - word search, suduko, etc. You may want to keep some cleaning stuff at her place. Trust me, the facility does what it does and you may want to 'help them' a bit. Finally, depending upon how close you live, a family member may need to 'store' bulky items that just can't be stored in an AL room. Holiday decorations, out of season clothing, etc come to mind. Good luck.
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I just went through this with my mother, though she had much too much stuff, for the small room she was going into, so we had to pick and choose. Her surroundings and décor have always been very important to her, so I tried to recapture what her previous places had looked like, and still have it functional e.g. room for a stretcher if it was needed at any point. I brought lots of family pictures, and some of her paintings that represented her tastes. The maintenance man there will hang them where she wants. The chests and chairs were ones she likes and light weight. We set up a chair so she could watch TV and I made sure to have a few decorative pillows and throws to make her comfortable. I arranged a few books and magazines as she used to have, though she does not read much anymore. She happened to have a guest room bedspread that suited the room very well, so I used that. I bought some silk flowers and made a couple of arrangements and also bought a silk orchid (she loves orchids) for the ledge outside her door and put a piece of her pottery there that blended with it. I bought a nice welcome card and set it on the end table. She said it looked very nice when she arrived, which was great as she is very critical. In a few weeks, I will go to a case conference and also see her and go though her clothing with her as she has things that she will never use again. It will unclutter her closet and gives us something to do together when I visit. I bought some organizers for her socks undies etc. and will sort them then. Also at that time I can make any changes she wants and buy anything she needs. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Also: If she likes older things check resale shops, garage and estate sales. New may be regarded as cheap. Utilitarian is necessary but has no character. Her taste and your taste are no doubt different.
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I bought a heart shaped grapevine wreath at Hobby Lobby and decorated it with seasonal items - spring flowers, Christmas, etc. I put one of those plastic hooks with adhesive on the front door to my mom's AL apartment and hung it there. Many of the residents also had seasonal decorative items by their front doors.
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