Insight: Moving into aged care

Family Visit

The day of the move

This could become a very stressful day, so it’s important to be organised. Please remember, you don’t have to take everything with you on the first day. You can add and remove things as your parent adjusts to this new environment. But here are a few suggestions:

  • Clothing – make sure everything is labelled (for laundry)

  • Toiletries bag and personal items

  • Radio

  • Clock (that can be seen easily)

  • TV (if not already supplied)

  • Signed residential agreement

  • Powers of Attorney

  • Medicare Card

  • Ambulance Insurance Card

  • Private health insurance details

  • All medications

  • Glasses, hearing aids, and any spares



 If you have a choice, the best time to move in is during the day. There is usually more staff on day shift, including a receptionist who can assist you with initial questions and admission paperwork. Regardless of when you arrive, make sure the facility staff knows what time you are coming in


Setting up the room

 When you first walk into the room, it might look and feel like an institution no matter how nice the facility is. To help your parent settle in, it is important to set up their belongings as soon as possible on the first day. If possible, try to do this before your parent arrives so their first sight of the room will look like a mini-version of home. Some suggestions to personalising the room:


  • Bring bed covers from home

  • Photos

  • Familiar pictures for the wall

  • Fresh flowers or pot plant

  • It’s inevitable that some things will get left behind or forgotten in the move, so bring a pen a paper to make a list


Settling your parent in:

Some suggestions:

  •  Make sure the call button works

  • Check that the radio and TV are plugged in and work, and remote controls are within easy reach

  • Adjust the room temperature to suit the day and time of year

  • Explain when the next meal time is and how the dining process works

  • Take your parent on a tour of the facility

  • Stay with your parent for as long as you feel is appropriate, when the next mealtime arrives you can take your parent to the dining room. If you have planned ahead and booked a meal, you could eat with him/her too. This will give you a great opportunity to introduce your parent to other residents and staff.


Leaving your parent

This is possibly the hardest part of the first day so you may need a few strategies:

 Tell your parent when you will next visit, or who will be visiting next

  • Be totally honest and don’t make promises or set up false expectations

  • There may be tears or signs of upset, so try to respond with understanding and don’t be patronising or dismissive

This could also be a very emotional time for you (the child), so have a plan for yourself afterwards e.g. dinner with family or friends where you can talk about the day.