What should I bring with me when I move into an Adult Family or Nursing Home in the Kirkland area?

Unless you’re traveling a great distance – where going to fetch more of your personal items might present a challenge – you don’t need much to move into an Adult Family Home. Washington State has legislated for significant protections for the residents of Adult Family Homes. Everything from maximum number of residents (six) to safety features which much be in place in order for a home to be legally called an Adult Family Home. That all means that a new resident can effectively show up with the clothes on her back and a toothbrush in her purse. The Adult Family Home will take care of everything else.

Personal items make the transition heart warming

I remember going on a car-camping vacation with my three very young kids on Vancouver Island in Canada. An RV (Recreational Vehicle) on one of the sites we stayed at, for some reason, lost its brakes and rolled into a small lake. It was a pond, really, but was deep enough to submerge the RV to within about a foot of its roof. No one was in it at the time, thankfully, but there was a big crowd around the rescue effort that began. The fire department officer asked the elderly owners of the RV was there “anything of value they should focus on rescuing” before they do the big tow out of the pond. The elderly couple responded immediately that the photos of their grandchildren were the only thing they were interested in. The diver was able to secure those from the submerged RV, and moments later, the couple had all the wet photos spread out in the campground office, drying out in the heat from the log fire. They didn’t care about the RV or the rest of its contents so much. Photos of their grandchildren, however, were priceless. That was before the true digital age we live in now, but it intrigued and impressed me that their only concern was the emotional value of a few photos. That’s why I always recommend to residents to take a good collection of photos of their loved ones with them.

Any items that keep you healthy

Medications, of course, and any personal items unique to you are always good to take with you. If your medications are running low, that’s a good thing to stock up on before you make the Big Move.

Any good Adult Family Home will likely have, as their full time staff, at least one retired RN (Registered Nurse). Managing an individual’s medications in an Adult Family Home is as easy as proverbial pie for a retired registered nurse. Can you imagine, having worked years in a hospital, taking care of one emergency after another, then working on an Adult Family Home looking after a relatively healthy six residents’ medication needs!

Modern age connectivity

In the 1980s, I moved from Europe to living in Australia. It seemed like moving to the planet Mars, it felt so far away. Today, though, people hop on a plane and fly to the other side of the world with little thought of the distance. But more interestingly, Internet communication tools have reduced that sense of isolation relatives feel from one another. It’s so common now for grandparents to connect with their children and grandchildren via such tools as Skype, and a dozen other similar tools. For me, I still connect with people across the planet using Skype, Viber, Facebook messenger, Facebook, email, WhatsApp, and a few other tools that support video chatting. Everyone has their favorite, it seems, so if you want to stay connected, you use the favorite tool of the person you want to stay connected to.

A good Adult Family Home will have good wifi, and wifi (or equivalent direct connection to the Internet) means being able to Skype with one’s grandchildren when the time makes sense. Even if it’s on a simple smart phone, being able to connect can all but eliminate any feeling of isolation when one first moves into an Adult Family Home. So think ahead, and practice using that smart phone to reach out to grandchildren before you make the move.

Clothes, shoes, and other items

An Adult Family Home is so named because it is aimed to feel like a real home! With the limit of only six residents, it doesn’t take long to get to know all the other residents and, perhaps more importantly, for the care giving staff to get to know each resident intimately. On the clothing front, I’d have to say, pajamas are my most favorite item of clothing. It wasn’t always so, but a good night’s sleep makes the whole day work, and a most comfortable pair of pajamas is your best friend.

Laundry at an Adult Family Home

Years ago, I was given a gift of some hypoallergenic laundry detergent. It was almost odorless, and the clothes that came out of the tumble dryer smelt and felt great. But one side effect was I could then smell chemical detergent from almost all other people. Traditional chemical-based laundry detergents might be very effective at getting dirt out of clothes, but their harshness isn’t always rinsed completely from the items of clothing. If that weren’t true, I would be able to smell the detergent. Secondly – something I was told by a dermatologist many years ago – one’s skin will absorb almost any chemical that it comes in contact with. She said, if you wear a teeshirt with laundry detergent residue on it and your workout involves sweating, some of the laundry detergent can be expected to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Better to use a hypo-allergenic detergent where possible. One of my favorite is (I think it’s called) Ecco, or a similar word. I buy it in bulk in Costco, so you might recommend your Adult Family Home get hold of some. You will never go back to traditional chemical-based detergents after using it for a while.

Take with you an open mind and a song in your heart

The state of Washington protects you in an Adult Family Home. How you thrive in one, however, is up to you. Walk in the door with an open mind about making friends, enjoying the food, and connecting with people, and you will have an excellent time.

I only wish there was such an institution for people my age. It’s a great place to live!