Senior Living: There’s No Place Like Home

Home 🏡 there’s a word that summons up the past no matter what. So, when it comes to moving home, it is always going to be fraught with emotions, some of which may not be easy to deal with.

And when they move involves an elderly parent, then it all just gets ten times harder. Whether they’re moving into an assisted living apartment or into your spare bedroom, the one thing you are going to need to do is decorating.

A specialist of senior living designers says, “We have plenty of experience in what works, so here are some ideas about making your mom’s new room feel like home.”

You Need to Downsize Now

Somehow, you need to strike a balance between keeping the place homely and familiar and not taking everything but the kitchen sink with you.

On one hand, the last thing anybody, but particularly a senior, wants is to completely eradicate their entire past. For any of us, it would be a big ask, to go from the comfort of our old homes to something completely different – but for someone battling dementia, it could be massively detrimental.

Senior Living

So, when a senior living decorators visit your home to discuss your needs, they will not be suggesting you throw the baby out with the bathwater. They know that your parent wants to keep the old and familiar and they will be at looking at ways of incorporating what is already there, with the new furniture they are supplying.

One hint that senior living specialists could offer from experience is to measure everything and see if it will fit first! The place your parent is moving into will be undoubtedly smaller and many things simply will not fit. Some items may not even get through the doors!

Working out what to keep and what to put in storage will be the first major challenge you both face.

Safety First

After you have figured out what to keep, you need to think about safety. This encompasses everything from minimizing the obvious trip hazards – rugs that snag easily are clearly a no in this situation – to making things slip-proof as well. Working with contemporary home interior designers, they should be able to alleviate these issues.

It ought to be remembered, that even if the senior is presently highly ambulant, they may not always be. Surfaces need to be okay for wheels and walking canes to get across, without disaster striking.

Avoid busy-looking patterns or too many dark surfaces, which may make it hard to see around properly. Obvious hazard areas like the kitchen and bathroom need proper investigating.

Access All Areas

Making a bathroom slip-proof and easy to access, is a major area for the senior living decorators and they can advise all over the world.

Hard ceramics and sharp corners can present a hazard when it comes to slips and trips and other injuries. You will want to make sure that all cables and power cords are well tucked in and clipped away, to prevent any trips or falls, or electrical accidents in the kitchen.

You are probably already seeing your loved one struggle to get on and off the couch, so the first major piece of furniture you will wish to purchase is a supportive and accessible chair.

Work with the best senior living furniture suppliers to make this possible. You may only be buying one piece of this type and they will make sure it is the right one.

Light The Way

But also, one of the leading senior living design firms operating in near you, they want to think about lighting and color.

In the past, a lot of assisted living and residential spaces for seniors were either glaring orange, in the mistaken belief this was somehow cheerful – or institutional magnolia.

Of course, experienced residential interior designers don’t want it to be gloomy either, so this is one of the major issues that you will want to discuss with your interior designers.

Making your parent’s new room or condo homely really begins and ends with the lighting.

Did you know that your parents will require between two to six times as much light to see properly as they did when they were younger?

This is even without any specific eye problems like cataracts or the like to contend with.

There are three major points with making a dwelling space light and airy that an expert designer will wish to consider.

The Walls

The last thing your senior living apartment should be is painted dark colors. But a senior living designer may want to hold back from spraying the whole place blinding white in large blocks.

However, in small spaces and narrow corridors, brilliant white can still work wonders for the overall light filtration of a room. It is more than likely that the space you are working with is going to be somewhat diminished from what your parent is used to. Splashes of white, even if they are not all over the room, could help open up the space.

The same also goes for wall hangings and furnishings. Lots of dark, heavy paintings will shrink the place down immediately. Whereas mirrors reflecting the light help keep it looking sunny.

The Lighting Arrangement

As we mentioned, your mom or dad will need a lot lighter than they may have been used to. Chandeliers can be a good way of diffusing the light that is already there, to good effect.

It is likely that they may worry about the increased costs that additional lighting may bring (what senior does not obsessively turn off lights!) But this is not necessary with careful attention – energy-saving CFL bulbs or LEDs may be cheaper and equally effective.

You will want to make sure that the light fittings support the type of bulb you use and that you never overload the unit you are using, with a greater wattage than it can support.

Ideally, lighting should be layered, so that any recesses and dark corners are still safely lit. For this reason, lamps are a good idea, especially for specific tasks i.e., reading and crafting. Spotlighting can also be effective in this capacity.

Bear in mind that lighting is not just about making it bright, it can also be about taking the glare off. Elderly eyes are not so adept at dealing with shine and glare. Dimmer switches can help give a degree of control missing with a simple on/off switch.

The Window Dressings

This is probably a top priority for a senior living designer. The main source of light in any room is the window and we will want to maximize the sun to its fullest potential.

But also, you will want to think about keeping the room warm in winter and cool in summer.

Blinds can be opened with a cord, a chain, or in some cases a simple push of the fingers. Of course, they can also be mechanized and motorized, although this is more often an option for larger residential settings, it does not necessarily have to be so.

In keeping with the light, airy, look, you may wish to favor light coverings like shades over heavier drapes, although the choice is all yours.

Finally, think about natural light coming in from all angles. So, if the room or apartment is either in an attic, a bungalow, or an extension, there is plenty of opportunity for skylights.

These are great ways of bringing daylight directly inside and are something that is worth exploring further when planning your senior living space.

Coverings and shades for skylights, conservatories, and porches can be tailor-made to your requirements and easily operated by all ages.

With a few well-thought-out adjustments, your parent’s new abode will soon become a home.

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