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Not sure how much furniture we should be moving. On the one hand, I’ve heard, less it more. On the other hand, she has always complained about her house’s lack of storage or closet space. In fact she’s a pack rat. Not sure how it should be furnished besides taking a single bed, tv, and lounger to sit on. She owns several stand along wardrobes, not sure how many she should or could fit into a small studio.


Does anyone have a packing list for this type of move? I’d like to find an official looking one and print it out for her since she never listens to us about what to take.

Ludmila, downsizing is always a major challenge. And a lot depends on the room's foot-print. Is the room a square? Rectangle? Triangle?

What I did for my Dad when it was time to move to senior living, I got graph paper and drew out the footprint of the room, noting where the door and windows were.... each square was one foot. Then I would cut out to size the bed, night stand, dresser [TV went on the dresser], high-boy dresser, recliner, etc. and move those pieces of furniture around the graph footprint of the room.

Dad's senior home already had a wardrobe so I needed to work around that. Extra clothes could go into under-the-bed storage boxes until needed. My Dad had numerous bookcases and a ton of books, and luckily I was able to squeeze those into the room. Those bookcases/books were Dad's safety cocoon. So if your Mom insists on taking certain items, let her bring them if they fit, even if those items don't make sense to you.

Dad and I use to joke about his new "college dorm room" :)

Check and see if the facility supplies the linens [sheets, pillow cases, and towels]. My Dad's facility provided those items and everything was washed daily. Dad had his own bedspread and pillows.

Lighting is important. Usually there is a ceiling light, but one would need a lamp next to the bed, and others on the dresser [if the TV isn't huge], or on other furniture. Maybe a floor lamp for next to the recliner.

And of course, bring Mom's favorite pictures to hang on the wall.

Does the facility have small living rooms out in the common area? If yes, then Mom won't need extra chairs in her apartment.

Oh, check and see if the facility has basement store rooms that are rented out. One could bring extra items to rotate around depending on the season.
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Reply to freqflyer
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My dad shared a room, so I bought a bookcase that had 5 shelves and was about 1 foot wider then his single bed. This was used as his headboard and it gave him a place to put a light, the shelves below the mattress level were used to store extra dog food, depends and anything else that didn't need easy access. Then I got him a 2 drawer night stand. I also got the largest dresser the room would hold and stacked the 2nd nightstand, that was his pantry, he had a small fridge and his tv on top. Ample storage for his stuff. He also had a chair and a hospital rolling table that could be stowed over the bed during the day.

I stored daily items in top drawers and less needed items were placed lower down based of frequency of need.

He had a closet that gave him a out 2 feet of hanging space and that was it.

If I had to do it again I would definitely do the bookcase as a head board, it was so handy for all of the items he wanted near and held a ton of stuff to keep things organized.

He had about 75 square feet of space, max. So 400 sq ft will hold enough items to create good storage and still allow safe floor space.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Look at an IKEA store or catalog for ideas on using mini space like the new room. Fascinating ideas on how to use minimal space.
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Ludmila Oct 3, 2019
yes. I want to keep accessibility in mind. Thanks!
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When I could no longer let mom stay in her 3bd/2ba house with dementia, I  moved her into a "studio" assisted living apartment.  It is a large studio compared to others I have seen.  We took her queen sized brass bed, a tall dresser, her TV and a Bombay chest to sit the TV on and a lamp.  That was all we took from her home.  We bought an apartment sized couch, foot stool, chair and side table.  I didn't want the studio to look cluttered...didn't want tripping hazards, etc.  I bought a room divider that is behind the couch to hide the bed...it give some separation of space so that it doesn't feel like one big room.  I bought some nice black frames, filled them with family photos and hung them on the wall.  I told mom we were decorating her fancy new apartment and she was excited about it.  It looks great and the facility has actually used her apartment to show folks that are considering moving there.  My mom tells people "my daughter decorated if for me".  LOL  I had to sell all of her other furniture that I could and then whatever didn't sell was donated to Goodwill.  My biggest complaint about the studio apartment is the closet for her clothes is just too small.  Truthfully though, it is better to have less when they have dementia.  I only put a weeks worth of clothes in the closet to choose from.  It is too confusing for her otherwise.  Anything off season I put in a storage tub in my garage and I switch out her clothes as the seasons change.  They make the bathrooms quite large because some folks are on walkers or in wheelchairs.  I was able to purchase a beautiful glass front cabinet for her bathroom.  We keep her soap, toilet paper, toothpaste, towels and washcloths in it and she can see what is in there.  Just remember less is more at this stage in the game!  In the AL facility where mom is, everyone decorates their doors, so I purchased several seasonal wreaths for the door.  I tried to keep her "moving in" upbeat and fun.  The other side of that coin I kept from her... she was not involved in the cleaning out and getting rid of all of the crap in her house.  It was exhausting trying to get rid of everything and I was angry and exhausted and hated everything she had crammed into that house!  Good luck with your move.
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AT1234 Oct 4, 2019
Same here, but we ended up moving to 1 bd just bc of closet issue. Keep it simple we should’ve stayed in studio.
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If mom is ready to downsize that's two thirds of the battle and yes, do it before she heads out to IL.  Think about what is absolute need, then for the wants you think shelving.  In the 400sqft place, go vertical.  NeedHelpWithMom has great ideas.  Is this an assisted living space or renting an apartment?   I lived in a studio that size for 13 years.  I learned to fold things very neat and small.  I was a "Marie Kondo" before her time.  Tables of any kind have to have dual purpose, drawers are key.  No glass table tops as with elder and eyesight this might become a problem.  If there is space on walls/floor, place a book shelf for the "want" things and make it tall, but so she can still reach what she wants.  Night stand by bed should be like a living room side table so it's large enough to carry the needs of two night stands.  A floor lamp (3 way if you can find it), takes less table space as well but if by the bed, a light with a switch on the cord.  Certainly try to repurpose anything she already has to include cedar chest which makes for great seasonal storage.  Dresser in the closet if you can and seasonal organize the closet so it's easier for her to know where her appropriate clothes are.  Mark the closet.  Ikea has great closet and clothing storage ideas.  If she has a recliner loveseat, that would be great.  A tv stand should also have dual purpose, maybe a cabinet with doors for storage.  Good luck.
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Reply to DotyDoty
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Someone suggested drawing a floor plan and measuring furniture. I did that and it's very helpful. Also, if possible, ask if you can see furnished rooms. That will give you ideas. I believe you said it's a studio, not a one bedroom so the bed will be in the same room as everything else. In some ways that is better for someone with dementia. As my mother's dementia progressed, she needed to see everything in her apartment and became anxious when she couldn't. We were better off in a studio at that point. I switched my mother's queen for a single. A dresser functioned as a TV stand. My mother insisted on taking a narrow tippy cabinet that was painted with designs. However, I had it attached to the wall so it wouldn't fall and it was great storage for pull ups, Kleenex, etc. A small table or desk is nice for when your mother needs to eat in her room. Table or floor lamps make it homier. Think of something that can go on the door to help her identify her space. Keep in mind that residents with dementia may wander into her room and take things. You need one locked space. A small locked curio cabinet on the wall helped to keep small favorites on display but protected from casual "theft" Don't bring valuables. Label absolutely everything!
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Reply to Rosyday
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What we did when we moved my inlaws to indy living is we measured their furniture. We drew out the floorplan to scale onto a big piece of paper and inserted furniture into it. That way we knew what would fit and what they could take. Leave enough space for wheelchair, walker, rollator, turning easily, etc. 400 sf is not a lot of space, and will quickly fill up. She needs a straight line to the front door and to the bathroom.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Didn’t think about eyesight with glass table. Good point! All who suggested making a graph to fit furniture is great too. Yes, walker and wheelchair accessibility is so important.

Bare necessities! Photos on walls are lovely.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Some advice I read that seems helpful to me is that it's much easier to start with what you are keeping rather than to decide what you are getting rid of - go through her things and select the items you "need" for each room, then add in a few favourite keepsakes.
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Reply to cwillie
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First take WHAT IS NEEDED FOR HER TO LIVE AND BE COMFORTABLE! Next take the great memories for her to see everyday THAT WILL MAKE HER HAPPY NOT SAD!!!! Next if allowed and your mom likes them GET HER A KITTY!!!!! That companionship will add joy to every hour of her day and give her many more days and you call her EVERY EVENING FOR 5 MINUTES TO SEE HOW SHE IS AND TO TELL HER YOU LOVE AND MISS HER! If there are grand children work out so they rotate being caring and good people and 1 calls each day to chat for 10 minutes BUT MOSTLY LISTENS TO GRAMMA AND TEACH THEM HOW TO CHANGE A CONVERSATION IF SHE IS SAD !!!! Love & caring Dr jack Grenan
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 4, 2019
So sweet.
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