10 Ways You Can Add Personal Style to Your Assisted Living Home
A few creature comforts can go a long way in making an assisted living residence feel like home. Creating a personal space can help you or a parent maintain some independence and happiness. Understandably, moving from a house or apartment to an assisted living community may be challenging. Yet the right décor can make the transition easier.
Keep these considerations in mind when decorating your new living space. Remember to have fun and be patient with yourself or loved one during this time.
1. Choose an atmosphere
Whether you’re partial to traditional or modern décor, love golf or enjoy nature, your assisted living room or apartment should reflect what you like. Simple touches such as a favorite lamp or painting can change the look and feel of a room. Need ideas? Check out books for decorating small spaces or search for “assisted living” on websites such as Pinterest.com or Houzz.com to peruse photos and creative ideas.
2. Include creature comforts
You’ll likely need to economize space so choose accents that provide you with day-to-day enjoyment and don’t take up a lot of space. Need some ideas? How about a comfy chair, a soft blanket to curl up in, or a wall-mounted TV?
Personalizing space is especially important for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Many memory care facilities encourage residents to create shadow boxes with mementos to help them identity their rooms and promote memory sharing.
Using intense, contrasting colors and theme rooms can help seniors with dementia orient themselves. Also, reducing window glare and providing even lighting may be helpful.
3. Blend comfort and safety
Plan a peaceful retreat and incorporate safety and accessibility. Secure cables and rugs and clear paths for wheelchairs or walkers. Ensure optimal lighting inside and outside and install night-lights in bathrooms. Most residences will be handicap accessible and you can add improvements such as handrails, non-slip shower treads, and shower seats. Provide sturdy furniture to aid with balance and firm seating that’s easy to navigate in and out of.
4. Add color for inspiration
Color can set the mood of a room. For example, yellow is often considered uplifting, while blue is calming and different shades of colors may evoke a different mood. Incorporate favorite colors into your décor with pillows, art, or a lamp shade. Ask community staff if you can select wall paint colors.
5. Set a budget
Create a budget and prioritize items that are most needed and important to you. Examples might include a smaller dresser to fit the space, a tray table, or new picture frames. Decorating doesn’t need to be expensive. Try adding a couple of throw pillows for an instant punch of color or one or two focal pieces. Stores such as T.J.Maxx®, Target, and Big Lots offer moderately priced décor.
6. Enlist help
Now is the time to ask family, friends, and acquaintances from church or other community groups for assistance. Ask them to set aside an hour or two to help you decorate your new home.
7. Take measurements
Before moving in or purchasing décor, measure your accommodations or ask staff if they can provide them. Include window measurements if you plan to hang blinds or curtains. Start thinking about where you’ll place key pieces of furniture such as a bed or a dresser, and how much space you’ll need to comfortably move around them.
8. Storage and organization
Simplify your lifestyle by reducing the amount of items you bring with you. Reduce paper and other clutter. Try using easily accessible bins or small storage towers to sort mail and store everyday items. Install shelves to display favorite photos, collectibles, or sports memorabilia.
9. Bring the outside in
Windows can transform a room and make it feel larger. If space permits, leave windows unblocked by furniture to let in natural light or provide views. Have a green thumb? Nurture a favorite potted plant or if you prefer, showcase some beautiful artificial flowers. Many plants, including Ficus and Gerber daisies, can improve indoor air quality. If you live with a pet, it’s a good idea to make sure plants aren’t toxic.
10. Make room for guests
Your assisted living residence should be comfortable for you and visitors. If space permits, have an extra chair on hand and a small table for snacks. If space is tight, your favorite armchair can double as a visitor’s chair. Set aside a small basket of candy or nutrition bars to offer guests. Of course, catching up with family and friends is what matters the most.
With the right décor to reflect your style, you can make your assisted living apartment feel like home.
Written by Erin Poole
Still looking for the right assisted living community? Find ratings and reviews of assisted living in Minneapolis, Hartford, Las Vegas, or anywhere else in the country on SeniorAdvisor.com.