Are Independent Living Communities Furnished?

Are Independent Living Communities Furnished?

Moving into an independent living community requires adequate planning. A lot of communication, downsizing, and right-sizing is required before the actual moving day. Selecting the right pieces you need from your current home to fit the floor plan of your new home can be a challenge and some communities include some furnishings. These factors can influence what you want to bring with you.

Usually, independent living facilities are unfurnished, allowing residents to bring their favorite personal pieces to make the space feel more comfortable and homelike. Now that you know you can bring more of your favorite items during the move, the next question is, what should you bring and what should you leave behind?


Independent Living or Assisted Living: Are There Differences?

When looking for independent living services, you need to know the type of care you will be receiving. Often, the terms independent living, senior living, and assisted living are used interchangeably. However, they are different in the level of care given and safety spacing requirements.

Independent Living

Independent living communities provide basic interventions to help you live freely and to your full potential. Some basic amenities offered at an independent living community include meals, maintenance, housekeeping, and life enrichment activities. In addition, some communities will also offer some home health services. You can contact your preferred about the services and amenities offered before moving.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is similar to independent living in some ways because you can enjoy the same amenities as residents in independent living. Additionally, this type of care also offers skilled nursing, and assistance with some of your activities of daily living. These include medication management and administration, mobility, showering, bathing, psycho-social programs, and personal hygiene.

Some assisted living facilities will also add specialized memory care and support programs to the services for assisted living residents.

Besides the difference in services, the distinction between assisted and independent living will also help you better plan the move and know what to bring. For instance, you can bring more items into your room for independent living because the space requirements are less restrictive. However, for assisted living, especially when using mobility aids, you need more space around your apartment to ease movement.


What to Bring with You to an Independent Living Community

After confirming the type of care you need, you can now start planning for your move. Because independent living apartments are smaller, you must downsize and right-size. You need to know what to carry, what to sell, and what to give away. It's no easy task, but some of the items you should bring with you to your new home include:

Home furnishings

You’ll want to bring a few pieces of furniture to make your new living room in a assisted living apartment comfortable and homey. Some of the pieces you can bring include:

  • Sofa, nightstand, and chairs
  • Folding chairs for guests
  • Kitchenware – dishes, cutlery, glasses
  • Bedding – comforters, quilts, and throw pillows
  • Lamps
  • Framed photos and artwork
  • Trinkets and keepsakes

Bringing some of your most valued items is vital to make the environment feel as homey as possible. However, don’t overpack. If possible, have the measurements and floor plan of the apartment beforehand to ensure everything is a good fit. 


Some independent living communities offer some of these items. Before deciding what to take, you should check with them to see what is provided in the room and what is not.

  • Appliances – mini-fridge, microwave, and coffeemaker (if not provided)
  • Alarm clock
  • Clothes hangers
  • Radio and TV
  • Assistive devices – canes, walkers, hearing aids, eyeglasses
  • Favorite books and magazines


Packing the clothes you want to bring can be a real challenge, especially if you love dressing up. Here are a few guidelines you can use to help you choose what clothes to bring:

First, pick your all-time favorites, including accessories like ties, belts, and scarves. These should be the outfits you wear most often.

The clothes you pick must be machine washable. One of the perks of an independent living community is you don’t have to wash your clothes anymore. However, these communities use washing machines, so you should bring machine-washable pieces that won’t shrink or fade in washer or dryer temperatures.

If you bring hand-washed items, you must be prepared to wash them yourself. Consider adding name tags to your clothes to make them easier to identify. You can use a permanent marker for this. All in all, ensure you carry about two weeks’ worth of clothes. That way when you take clothes for laundry, you will still have clothes for another week.

Some of the essentials to include in your packing list include:

  • Comfortable clothes – sweaters, sweats, and jeans
  • Socks, slippers, and shoes
  • Pajamas and robe
  • Jackets and warm coat
  • Formal outfits for special occasions

When packing, be mindful of the climate and the weather where the assisted living community is located.

Because closet space is limited, consider putting your out-of-season clothing in storage or in a loved one's house in transparent containers so you can easily pick them out when needed. That way, you don’t buy something you already own for the coming season.

seniors on couch

Personal care items, footwear, and toiletries

Some assisted living communities will offer some of these items, but chances are, they won't be your favorites or preferences, so it won’t hurt to pack a few items for your bedroom dresser, bathroom cabinet, and hall closet. Some items to pack include:

  • Bath gel and hand soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Jewelry
  • Small mirror
  • Razor, shaving cream, and deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Makeup and makeup remover
  • Cotton pads, tissues, and cotton swabs
  • Dentures and hearing aids
  • Non-skid slippers
  • Shoes and sandals
  • Hat
  • Umbrella
  • Panty-hose, knee-highs, leggings
  • Laundry bag
  • Winter boots and rain boots
  • Vitamins and medications


What to Leave Behind When Moving to Independent Living

Moving into an independent living community is an excellent opportunity to reinvent yourself and declutter, to pick the essential pieces and be at peace with your decision.

You can divide the items you will leave behind into three piles:

1. Keep in storage

This pile consists of things you don’t want to give away and that you might still use seasonally. You can rent out a small storage space or keep them in your child’s or a family member’s home. Some of the items belonging to this pile include:

  • Items you will use seasonally, like holiday decorations
  • Books and magazine collections you’re not ready to part with
  • Some of your clothes, if you have an extensive wardrobe you can’t part with, and also off-season clothing.
  • Valuable items you’d like to bequeath your loved ones.

2. Give to family

The second pile is for items you should give to your family. This is the perfect time to pass heirlooms and special items to the next generation. Some of the items you should consider passing on include:

  • Antiques
  • Family heirlooms
  • Expensive items you no longer use, like jewelry or entertainment units
  • Furniture that is in good condition
  • Sentimental items like baby blankets and books

3. Donate

Give away the items you don’t use if your family does not want them. If the items are in good condition and can help someone else, donate them. Some of the items you should consider donating include housewares, furniture, and clothing items. Donating these items to a local charity to could get you a tax deduction.


Managing the Move to Independent Living

senior with nurse

Planning and packing for the move is better done slowly rather than waiting until the week or the day before the move. Besides knowing what you should take to your independent living community, there are other crucial factors you shouldn’t forget. Here is an overview:

Plan for your healthcare needs

  • Make an appointment for a checkup with your existing care physician
  • If you’re moving to a new area, find a new primary care doctor there
  • Get your prescriptions pre-filled and in order
  • Plan for other medical and health needs


  • Contact the US Postal Service to set up mail forwarding
  • Cancel current utility services
  • Inform the necessary parties about your change of address

Find a moving company

Finding the right moving company will take some time, so starting early is better. Consider choosing a company specializing in senior moving to make your life easier. Here are a few tips to help you with the search.

  • Ask around for moving company recommendations
  • Ensure the company is licensed and insured
  • Get cost estimates
  • Check for reviews online
  • If necessary, ensure the company can move heavy and specialty items
  • Make sure the company is available on your move-in date


What About My Pets?

When finding out if the assisted living or independent living communities are furnished, most senior residents and their families forget to ask if they can bring their pets. Nothing would make your stay in a community feel more homey than being with your beloved pet. Some communities, like Danbury Senior Living, understand this and allow you to bring your pet and other items to make this your new home.

We recommend scheduling a tour with us to learn more about the amenities, floor plan, community spaces, and give yourself the opportunity to see yourself at Danbury.

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