10 Tips on How to Decorate a Senior Apartment
For seniors, leaving their long-time home and moving into a senior facility can be stressful and emotional, no matter how excited they are to begin this new stage in their life. Settling into a retirement home for seniors is difficult, and it is best to be open to change and look forward to the many great things that await this new chapter in their life.
Making senior apartments feel homey and comfortable is the perfect way to help a senior embrace this change. Here are some excellent decorating tips to help you get started in personalizing this new home.
Decide on the Most Important Things to Take
Chances are, seniors will be having a smaller space than the family homes where they lived in for a long time. So, it is best to bring only the most important things. Consider gifting the rest of their belongings to friends or family or donating the items that they will no longer be using. Bring back unforgettable memories to their new space by displaying pictures they have with their beloved family, friends, or pet. Add charm and interest to their interior decor by with their favorite books, reading chair, or quilts.
Keep the Senior Living Space Simple
Measure the dimensions of the new space and take this into consideration when planning for the interior décor and furniture. Instead of buying new furniture, it is better to try and recreate the look and feel of your senior’s previous home by incorporating furniture and accessories that they already own which will fit well into their new space. Less is more when it comes to decorating a small living space. A loveseat would fit better than an entire living room set. Choose a couch with a firm cushion that your loved one will not sink into when they sit, so they won’t have a difficult time getting up. Furniture can also be used for balance as seniors walk around the area.
Be Creative with Storage
While it is important to keep things organized, remember that there is limited space and it is best to get storage solutions that will not require so much space. Use furniture and accessories that may double as storage. You can maximize space with a stylish ottoman that opens up as a storage box and can also double as a coffee table by just placing a tray on it. An armoire or bookshelf can also help add functionality to the space.
Ensure Safety and Keep Walkways Clear
Ensure safety and convenience by keeping the walkways clear for walkers, canes, or wheelchairs. Help prevent falls by checking the space for tripping hazards, such as electrical cords or unsecured rugs, and make sure these are kept out of the way. You can also tuck cords behind furniture or get cable management tools that will keep cords secured to the wall.
Keep Things Easily Accessible
When decorating the new space, think of your loved one’s daily routine and use this as your guide when deciding where to position the furniture and other items around their new home. Place the phone beside their bed or near sitting areas. Keep frequently used items inside drawers and cabinets that can be easily reached. Check all the light and lamp switches and make sure that they are functioning properly. If necessary, replace cabinet and dresser handles with pulls.
Choose Appropriate Colors to Optimize Visibility
Seniors’ eyesight change as they get older. You can improve visibility during daytime by choosing strong, contrasting colors for furniture and their surrounding walls, drapes, and floors. At night, make sure the pathways are well-lit with motion-sensor nightlights. Wall sconces are a great way to add style and ensure lighting convenience for your senior. Aside from bringing beauty into your senior’s apartment, colors play other important roles in design. Neutral and warm hues are ideal for decline in visibility, and certain colors, such as greens, yellows, and certain shades of blue, are used in healing methods like biophilia or biomimicry.
Make Sure the Bathroom is Completely Functional
Although most assisted living facilities are equipped with handicap-accessible bathrooms, you may need to install a few more fixtures for added convenience and safety. Install grab bars near the shower, tub, and toilet. Place non-slip strips on the shower floor as well as comfortable seating in front of the sink and shower, for grooming.
Use Round, Non-Glass Furniture
Furniture made of glass with sharp corners can cause injuries, so if you plan to buy furniture for your loved one’s new home, it is best to choose glass furniture with rounded corners. If you must bring some of their existing furniture that have sharp corners, install rounded plastic corner encasement to protect your elder from sharp edges.
Make Sure the Kitchen is Bright and Well Lit
Adequate lighting in the kitchen is very important, enabling seniors to easily look for the food and tools they need to prepare their meals. Under-cabinet lighting is a big help with evening or nighttime snack preparations. In addition, good nutrition is vital for aging loved ones, so remember to always keep their kitchen stocked with healthy food and snacks throughout the day and night.
Make Room for Social Interaction
Encourage your senior loved one to keep an active social life, as this is one of the key ingredients for happiness as we age. Add some guest seating and display interesting art pieces, photos, and awards that can stimulate enjoyable, meaningful conversations. It is also great to have a personalized shadow box with your senior’s favorite life mementos and memories for their guests to see. If they play bridge, chess or cards, make these games available and easily accessible.
With these simple tips, transitioning into their senior apartment becomes less stressful, helping your loved one prepare for this new chapter in their life with much optimism and excitement and ensuring that their stay in their new home is just as comfortable as their previous home, or maybe even better.