Mum is going to a care home early next week - what do I need to pack for her?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Mumsmum, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. Mumsmum

    Mumsmum Registered User

    Oct 29, 2012
    Hi, we’ve managed 7 1/2 years keeping mum happy and safe in her own home, but there have been a couple of “bare foot incidents” as the social worker politely termed it, I.e. outside just in a nighty. So we can no longer keep her safe and have found a lovely home near us that I am sure mum will think is a hotel. I just want to ask you all what you think I need to pack. Mum has about 30 pairs of shoes, I assume she’ll just need a couple of pairs, same goes for coats. Do I need to get toiletries, pack towels etc. I’ve searched the internet and can’t find suggestions or a recommended packing list.
  2. nellbelles

    nellbelles Volunteer Host

    Nov 6, 2008
    #2 nellbelles, Oct 26, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
    Just a reminder don’t forget to label everything that you take into the CH. it can also be useful to take photos of things useful when they go missing!
    I wouldn’t have thought you would need to pack towels
  3. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    You don't have to get it all perfect in one try - pack as if she's going on a fortnight's holiday and then you can sort out what else she needs and take it along later. You do need to take toiletries. She will almost certainly always be cold whatever the weather, so make sure she's got plenty of warm clothes.

    My mother's care home provides towels, but I didn't know that and took some. They supply all bedding but offered the option of 'personalising' the room by buying your own duvet set and curtains if you wished to.

    You do absolutely need to label everything though - all her clothes, shoes and other possessions. I used iron-on labels for her clothes, and Stickins (from Amazon) for shoes and other non-ironables. If you don't label it, you'll lose it. Don't take anything very valuable or precious (e.g. jewelry). And when thinking about type of clothing, remember that laundry is done at a high temperature so will ruin nice woollens.

    In terms of shoes, take a few favourites. My mother only has two pairs of shoes and one coat - she doesn't go outside often enough to need more than that.
  4. Sassad65

    Sassad65 New member

    Oct 26, 2019
    My mum has her own towels and bedding to make it feel a bit more homely. Definitely label everything. Also clothing is usually tumble dried so make sure clothes have the tumble dry symbol on them.
  5. Philbo

    Philbo Registered User

    Feb 28, 2017
    My wife recently moved into a nursing home, straight from a care facility where she'd been for several weeks being assessed. So the clothes I had originally sent her in with for 2 weeks respite care went with her. They had marked her items with a sharpie pen and I had provided an inventory.

    Her new nursing home are providing all toiletries, bedding etc and do the laundry. There is a lady in the home with the same first and last name, though her surname is spelt different. So the staff have added (space on the garment label permitting) the room number.

    In the 4 weeks she has been there, I have noticed the occasional instances where she is wearing something that is not hers. As the home caters only for advanced stage dementia clients, who are not mobile, it is not a case of people wandering into rooms and picking up garments that are not theirs. I guess, therefore, that items sometimes get returned from the laundry incorrectly, so if I find anything in her wardrobe that is not hers, I give it to the staff and keep an eye out to check that any "missing" items eventually turn up.

    I have just ordered some clip-in labels (with her name and room number) to put on everything and on any winter clothes I take in for her. I am fairly laid back about vagaries of the laundry process as it must be a bit of a headache for them and I am just glad that I don't have to do it myself.
  6. Mumsmum

    Mumsmum Registered User

    Oct 29, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies. Mum has been the first on the list at the home for a couple of months so i’ve been collecting clothes, washing, ironing and labelling so have a small suitcase ready. Took her out for dinner tonight which was lovely, but she doesn’t recognise me as her daughter, always her sister, which I just go along with. Hopefully the home will provide a list Monday.
  7. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    Dont forget to name her glasses!
  8. Rosserk

    Rosserk Registered User

    Jul 9, 2019

    Funny you should say that, I think my mum sometimes thinks I’m her sister. Other times she thinks I’m the lady running the care home! My mum lives with me and thinks my son and daughter are also in a care home...
  9. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    Recently during visits my mother has variously thought I was her mother, and her sister (she didn't have a sister). I think she just invents scenarios of 'who might come to visit me'.
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Mum also wasnt quite sure whether I was daughter, mum, sister or aunt.
    Im not sure she really understood what these words meant
  11. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    My mother has started asking me how my mother is She also is always introducing me as her daughter, so I'm not sure if she's forgotten what those relationships mean or if the how's your mum is just a conversation starter. She also askes after my sister. I haven't got one, but she did, so I sometimes wonder if she thinks I'm her.
    I took things in for mum bit by bit, and still have a few things that I can take in if I think she needs them. It was very odd going through all her clothes and seeing what would be useful and what should go to the charity shop.
  12. tamlaorange

    tamlaorange New member

    Nov 6, 2019
    Definitely ask the home to email you over a list, similarly I took bits up slowly as to not overwhelm Dad who went straight from 8 weeks in hospital to the care home.

    Helpfully the laundry helped label my dads belongs when he got there as the whole process was very overwhelming for me and it was good to have this task however small taken off me so I could focus on my Dad getting settled.

    take photos/pictures and some command strips, these were one of the first things I put to make it feel more homely.

    Try not to feel overwhelmed you can take bits up in stages. It’s a very difficult time, wishing you all the best
  13. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
  14. davidsitges

    davidsitges Registered User

    Apr 26, 2018
    Too late for mumsmum! It's already happened. But my husband is going into a home next week, so thanks to everyone who has contributed. The advice is very much appreciated.
    I would add - I was told that the iron-on labels can come off in industrial laundries, so the sew-on ones are better (but more work!). Also, do take personal things - lots of family photos (mostly copied onto plain paper in my case, just a couple in frames). Also a model boat that he made when younger and has always liked boats. Books of old photos (name inside). I am going to ask about taking his favourite mug, the home may not be happy about that but I know he would like it even if just to keep in his room.
  15. davidsitges

    davidsitges Registered User

    Apr 26, 2018
    I painted the arm in tippex and then wrote on that. It wears out but it's easy!
  16. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
    I use the click-on labels which are even less work as there's no ironing or sewing required. I've been using them for over 2 years now and none have come off or faded yet and the lady who does the laundry in Mum's home loves them, saying that it makes her job easier as she can clearly identify who the clothing belongs to (Mum's labels are purple with white text so stand out). I use this supplier but there are quite a few others out there who supply similar:
  17. Twodimensions

    Twodimensions Registered User

    Apr 6, 2014
    I wish you much strength for the day you take your mum to the care home. When I took my mum in, it was the hardest day of my life as she was so upset. But in the following days she began to thrive there, and she changed so much for the better.

    My tips on what to bring:
    - electric toothbrush and toothpaste (and get the care staff to help with teeth brushing!)
    - toilterries
    - clothes
    - slippers
    - socks

    TV: the remote control will go walkies, so make sure you know how to use the on-set controls!

    Don't bring anything valuable or one-off (like photos). Sure you can put names on things, but if another resident has gone shopping and puts your Mum's glasses / dentures / clothes into a drawer in their own room, you might not see them again. It happens.

    Good luck with your mum!
  18. Nandi

    Nandi Registered User

    Mar 20, 2018
    Don't pack to much to start with clothes she is fond of take others bit by bit everything has to have name tags bit like going to boarding school when they go to laundry unless named will disappear.
  19. Nandi

    Nandi Registered User

    Mar 20, 2018
    My husband has been in care since January little tip that works men's socks r a nightmare in laundry put him in white socks only him in the home wearing white socks so they know who they belong to.
  20. Terz

    Terz Registered User

    Nov 29, 2012
    You've got loads of great suggestions already but I'd reiterate what others have said - not too much at once as you can easily take more in and bring things that aren't working home again. Label everything and have personal things around to make her room more homely.

    I used a dymo with iron on labels for Dad's clothes and they survived no problem in care home hot washes - much longer lasting than writing on with a sharpie. I like the idea of those click on labels but doubt they'd work on undies or socks as you'd be more likely to feel them I think. Then again we're all different - I cut labels off everything for myself anyway as they tend to irriate my skin.

    I did take towels and bedding just to make it more comfortable but the care home did provide some - just the towels were dark grey and Mum and Dad always had brightly coloured towels. I just tried to keep as many familiar things around for him as possible.

    Eventually we did get him a (very) small sofa for his room as he didn't like noise and he and Mum could sit together there when she visited. We had it protected (something like scotchguard) and when we eventually brought it home the company came out twice to get it really cleaned up - even the hot chocolate Dad had spilled! It's now in Mum's front room.

    Be aware that other residents may wander in and out and pick things up so nothing precious that is breakable. I took photos of some of the pictures from home, printed them on A3 paper then had them framed. The room looked much more welcoming and less clinical with extras like that.

    Good luck with your Mum's move and make time for yourself too as it will take it's toll on you too I'm sure.

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