When any senior transitions to a new assisted living facility, it can be a major change in their life. One of the biggest issues that seniors today have with moving to assisted living is that they feel like they are leaving their home and forced into a foreign place. While most seniors are ultimately pleased with their transition into assisted living, the initial idea of moving to an assisted living community can be very difficult. This is why it is so important that any senior's family member or loved one helps do their part to decorate this new assisted living apartment or room so that it feels more like home. It may seem like a small detail, but it is one that can go a long way in making the transition to senior living more comfortable for all parties involved.
When seniors can come into their new living space and have memories and noticeable artifacts from their old space, they can instantly feel calm, at ease and ready to embrace their new living situation. Decorating an assisted living space can be a challenge, but there are a few tips to keep in mind that can help make the process easier on all involved, so any senior moving to their new space can enjoy all of the comforts of home.
Start With a Layout
One of the biggest challenges that comes with moving to assisted living or a retirement home, is often downsizing. Most seniors will downsize significantly when they move from a home or a condo to an assisted living community, so one of the first steps should be to start with a layout of the space and determine what furniture or "big items" will actually fit.
Most assisted living facilities will provide residents and their families with a detailed layout of the space, which can help when it comes to determining layout and what furniture can come to their new home. In some situations, not all furniture can fit, and seniors may need to get some new pieces that work with their new layout. However, if possible, it is a great idea to bring as many pieces of furniture from their old home as possible, particularly their bed and bedroom set.
The more major pieces of furniture that comes along to your senior loved one's new home, the more they will start to associate this new place as their home. Make sure to bring items that give your loved one a place to eat or play game, plenty of seating and any items that you can bring that will add extra storage. Many times, assisted living facilities do not have a great deal of closet or storage space, so any item that can double as storage can really go a long way in helping these rooms become more functional.
Prioritize Items Based on Sentimental Value
There are some items that really need to make their way to a senior's new apartment in order for it to really seem like home. Go through important nick knacks, photos and belongings to make sure the really important ones find their way to your senior's new home. This can be picture frames or even a special piece of decor and of course, bring a lot of pictures that have sentimental value to them.
It is important to have these items in the home but to arrange them in a way that doesn't look too cluttered so the space can still feel like an actual home. For items that don't make it into the apartment, consider putting them in storage, donating them, or giving them to friends and family. It is important to have a plan with leftover items but to never assume that everything that doesn't make it to their apartment needs to be discarded.
Set Up for Safety
When setting up a new assisted living apartment, decoration is important, but safety really should be paramount. Make sure to arrange furniture in a way that keeps walkways clear so it is easy for seniors to get around and so they can maneuver any walkers, wheelchairs and canes. All walkways need to be clear from cords too as these can be tripping hazards.
Fall prevention should be one of the most important parts of setting up a new home for any senior. This not only means keeping walkways clear, but it also means removing clutter, making sure decorative rugs are adhered to the ground so that they don't cause trips and falls. The bathroom is perhaps the most important area of the home to focus on when it comes to fall prevention. This means non-slip rugs, seating in the shower and in front of the mirror and grab bars.
The apartment should also be designed with accessibility in mind, make sure that items are easy to grab, that they won't have to stretch or reach far in order to grab something and that they won't have to use step-stools or put themselves in danger when trying to get everyday items.
Don't Forget Lighting
Lighting is extremely important in any senior's new assisted living facility. Try to keep decor and wall colors bright and light and to keep some natural contrast between drapes, walls and furniture, so the apartment is easier to navigate for seniors who have impaired vision. In addition to overhead lighting, make sure there is plenty of lamps around as well that can keep the area bright, visible and easy to access.
Help Foster Social Gatherings
When it comes to arranging furniture and making final arrangements in a new senior living apartment, it is important that it is set up to host multiple people and to foster social gatherings. This means having plenty of seating and even a table for gathering. When their apartment is set up to have friends or family members over, it can encourage any senior to continue to be social and feel comfortable enough to host others in their new home.
With a few tips and the right plan in mind, seniors and their family members can come together to successfully decorate a new assisted living apartment. The right setup and the right decor can really go a long way in helping any senior feel more confident and comfortable as they transition to this new phase of their life in their new home.