She is struggling with what to take with her.
What to choose, how to choose.
Any ideas how I can help her?

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Contact the NH and find out what kind of space your friend will have to store and display (wall space) things in her room. Will she be able to bring a dresser or chest from home or will all the furniture be supplied by the facility? If you need to use facility furniture, go back and take a photo and some measurements to you can plan how much space is available. How about a small TV or personal DVD player, maybe a hearing amplifier? You may need to get a permanent marker and write your friend's name on the back or bottom of anything portable; same for the inside frame of her glasses. If she will be sharing a room, maybe a set of wired headphones she can use with the DVD player so only she hears the movie or music.

Most of her clothing will need to be comfortable and easy to change and wash. My mother wears a lot of solid colored sweat pants with bright patterned or colored tops; they make a nice looking outfit without costing a lot. I recommend picking out two "nice" outfits, one winter and one summer, with elastic waistbands if possible. Writing her name in permanent marker on the labels helps her clothing find its way back to her from the laundry. Avoid shoes with slick bottoms. Slip on shoes seem attractive but might not provide enough traction and stability. Velcro closing walking shoes may work best.

For the wall space, I suggest reserving space for a small white board (unless the facility already provides this), a monthly calendar (maybe with interesting photos), then some important photographs. My father choose pictures of himself as a child, young man, wedding photo, a family portrait, a group picture from a family reunion that included many of his aunts, uncles, cousins and a 50th wedding anniversary group that included all his children and grandchildren. Dad had various collections he couldn't take to MC, so I photographed them and we hung the pictures in MC. If placing frames on the wall is a problem, there's a hanging photo gallery with plastic 4x6 pockets makes a nice display.

A small notebook with the phone numbers of friends and family, maybe one with a pocket to place cards into is usually helpful. Clear easy open storage containers of various sizes to place small related items works well to make the most of storage space. My favorites are "super stackers"; most rectangles with an easy to open latch on each end. I use one box for nail files and clippers, another for my small notebook, sticky notes, pens and pencils. My father liked placing gum and small candies in one box and another with his glasses and a magnifier light. He could take a box out of his bedside table and place it on the bed or a table while he used the items, then easily put everything away. If your friend will need to "travel" to a shower room instead of using an attached bath, a shower caddy is helpful too.

A Bible and a favorite book or two. Wall clock? Adult coloring books and pencils? Cards? A digital photo frame with a slideshow feature can be used to display beautiful photos of enjoyable and interesting things, like birds, animals, landscapes, etc. A photo album, some costume jewelry, lotions, face creams, combs, brush, toothbrush, basic makeup or maybe just lip or chap sticks, etc.

If you can, try to engage your friend in planning the new phase of her life more than focusing on all she is losing. There may be new friendships to make in the NH, group activities she may enjoy.
Helpful Answer (10)
Isthisrealyreal Feb 2020
Can I adopt you? I need a clever, brilliant sister.

You have been through it, that is so obvious from all your fabulous advice.

Thank you for sharing. You are truly appreciated.
My moms NH allowed door decor, if hers does, get her a over the door hanger and a wreath. WalMart & Michaels has oodles of all seasons styles & seasonal ones (think flat backed Easter baskets w/handles & pastel daisies & Easter eggs) and super inexpensive. I found its great helping one easily identify her room. If you will actually be visiting regularly perhaps do seasonal ones. If old ones still lookin good, see if the activities director could use them for arts & crafts.

Im with TNTechie on getting a wall clock, I’d suggest a big classroom style one and hang it high, so it can easily be seen from any vantage point. If she’s time challenged, mate it with at bedside level digital clock.
Techies suggestions are spot on.

If you can, install a high up lightweight narrow shelf / ledge in the bathroom, & put like 4 -5 battery operated candles & set so the timers cascade light from dusk to daylight. So there’s always some degree of light in the bathroom and they can find where toilet is..... easily.

My mom had a favorite lamp which was scheppled from her home of 50 years to IL and then to 2 different NHs. Had it wired with a touch on feature so NO having to reach up & twist a knob. She loved that lamp.
Make sure all light bulbs are new & as long lasting as possible.

If she’s bringing in her own bed linens, I’d see if you can swap out or add to the window treatments so it all coordinates with her old stuff. I took the “dorm decor” approach when mom moved into her 2nd NH. They let me set up her room night before & I had met her roomie & she was happy to get new comforter & blanket that worked with moms linens & curtains. Inexpensive dorm sets are always at BedBathBeyond year round. Room looked cheerful & bigger & mom recognized her stuff. The roomies family was happy too. I didn’t see this trend (dorm decor) quite so much in my moms NH as it was a mix of Medicaid & private pay. But in private pay only places, there is decor going on in my experience. Not nowhere near as bad as the competitive & went viral “Ole Miss Dorm Decor” (really Google this... crazy and accurate), but the NH ladies rooms are definitely “done”.

Also if you want a bit of amusement, walk the halls and look at the TV sets. Everything from 1970’s credenza style to the kids went to Best Buy that morning & bought a unit. I would advise against any new electronics, they usually can’t figure out new remotes. Bring whatever in the old house.
If they are selling the home & you can store stuff for them, I’d suggest that you set up in closet in your home with a dedicated shelving unit with extra clothes, shoes, eyeglasses, linens, hair stuff, radio, TV, lamp and framed pictures to periodically go and swap out for her. Shoes & hair stuff especially went MIA for my mom. There are lots of happy hands residents in facilities; there’s cognitive issues if not full blown dementia going on, stuff flat walks. So label everything.
Thank you for doing stuff for your friend.
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Tanja - It must be so hard and sad for your friend to leave her home of 70 years. That is a big loss that will take time to accept and adjust. Let her cry and grieve her loss. If you can, visit her often, sit with her and let her know that you care. Reassure her that she will be taken care of at her new home. That's what I would do if I had a dear friend going to a nursing home. Hopefully with time, your friend will adjust to her new place.
Helpful Answer (8)

Seventy years is an awfully long time. That’s very hard for her to accept. In time she will adjust. Help her pack if she needs assistance. Maybe take some photos of special items that she can’t take with her. Also, help her decide what to do with items that she can’t bring.

Visit her as often as you can. Bring her treats or flowers.

Best wishes to you and your friend.
Helpful Answer (6)

Before your friend takes loved things from her home, please go and take lots of photo albums of her house and everything in it. If you or she can afford it, you could get a sales agent to send in the person who does videos to go on the net for a sale, and get a video of walking through the house. The photos will be a much loved album for her to look at when she has moved. Once things have gone, even to the facility room, it’s too late for the chance to see ‘my home’ as it was.
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Had a whole thing written and it disappeared.

I would suggest you go see the room. Where I live, a closet, bed and nightstand are provided and TV. There was a space for a small chest of drawers. I only took the clothes that were in season. I think that is how the NHs work too. Storing out of season clothing in totes with the persons name on it. I kept Moms at my house.

I was told at least 7 outfits. Lots of socks. I had a bra a day. Aides throw everything in the wash after one use. One coat, seasonal. Shoes, the aides tend to put the same pair on everyday. I was looking for those slip on canvas ones. But Mom passed and would u believe, I then saw them everywhere. Mom had slippers but aides never used them. Maybe a nice outfit or two if she leaves the building but I would put a sign on them only to be used for that purpose. A nice quilt for the bed. Maybe favorite afghan. They provide sheets. They also provide towels. Her toiletries. I bought a container to hold Moms. At Moms there was no need for a laundry basket. Dirty clothes were gathered daily. Turn around was three days. They should be marking her clothes as soon as she gets there. But, she may need an outfit for the next day. So I would put her name in the clothing she is wearing and the outfit for the next day. This goes for her shoes and socks too.

I found that staff tried to keep residents in the common area most of the day. This is where the meals are eaten and entertainment/ activities are done. Naps and bedtime is spent in the room. Even bedridden they tried to get out to the common room.

Hopefully, someone will be going with her to help with the transition.

Nothing worth anything. Nothing left out. Always put away.
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MargaretMcKen Feb 2020
JoAnn did you see my Discussion to write in a WordProcessing package, copy and paste into this site when you are finished. If the post disappears, you copy again. You never lose it!
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A floor plan of her nursing home room would help her decide on furniture, if any, that she needs. Colors? Hopefully she can keep the same colors as her bedroom is now with the nicest bedspread. Could you or someone keep some of her favorite things for her? It helped my grandmother to know I kept many of her clothes and furniture. Your friend may need to have some new things, like a new wall tv if it isn't provided. A phone to call you often. Writing and reading things. Not her entire closet of clothes, just enough for a week at a time, sweaters, coats, boots, slippers and night clothes. Bathroom supplies. Photos for memories. It might even seem eventually very nice to have less to organize and take care of.
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Letting go of "stuff" is the same as a kind of death to her. She needs family and friends to rally around her: help with sorting, deciding on what to give as gifts, helping sell whatever has worth, and helping to donate the remainder. She should hold onto small items that give her joy.
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Help her by trying to figure out a way she doesnt have to go to Nursing home prison. Adult day centers? Companion aid at her home? The govn has programs where they even will pay for help as they look at it like its cheaper to help you pay for help at home than a nursing home soi its a win win for everyone. PEOPLE JUST DONT KNOW THESE PLACES AND PROGRAMS EXSIST!
My mom used adult day centers for 10 years! They had a nurse on staff, gave her meds, helped her to restroom, brought in therepy dodg, sang, etc and then that got to come home at night.
I have so many recomendations for helping keep someone at home, these are just a few.
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Help her to make a scrapbook of things after she has moved. It is a struggle. It would not be fair to ask someone not to grieve it. It is worth grieving.
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