You’ve taken the big step, done your research, and found an independent or assisted senior living community that fits your needs and exceeds your expectations. The necessary arrangements have been made and you’re ready to start the transition from your old home to a senior living apartment. Since this is a big step in your life, you want to make sure it’s as safe, stress-free, and comfortable as possible. While transitioning from your old home to a senior living space is one thing, designing your new senior living apartment or space is another.
Thankfully, you won’t have to have an interior designer or be an interior design genius to make the most of your new living space. With a little bit of effort and designing knowledge, you can turn your new place into a familiar and welcoming environment.
What to Keep in Mind While Personalizing Your Senior Living Space
Seniors should have the comforts of home on their mind when they are transitioning from their old residences to their new space on the senior living community. Seniors like yourself need to remember that while moving is hard enough (even with hired help from family members or professionals), planning out the entirety of the process is necessary. Every single detail counts, from the amount of space available to the layout of the senior living apartment, condominium, or home you’ll be living in.
Remember to Keep What’s Really Important To You
While you must make sure you bring your most cherished belongings, you have to remember that space is likely to be limited since most senior living spaces are smaller than your old home. Try to avoid creating mounds of clutter but try to make the most of the space given to you. If anything you should try to recreate the familiar surroundings of home by keeping cherished items like pictures, books, etc. If you have a pile of items that are sentimental but not really necessary for the transition, consider handing them to friends and family members. Other items can be donated at your local Goodwill location, given to other organizations like churches that host rummage sales, or if you feel like paying the extra fee, placed into a storage container.
Plan Ahead with the Provided Space and Layout
As mentioned before, put into consideration the amount of space of the senior living apartment or home as well as its layout. Ask the community’s management for a downloadable or printed copy of the layout as well as its specifications. Some communities have that information readily available for current and potential residents. With this information, you can figure out if certain items from your old home will fit in the new living space like one’s favorite chairs, tables, etc.
Ensuring Safety and Accessibility
All senior living communities make sure that their living spaces and community rooms are safe for everyone, regardless of what type of community they are. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a double check of your new surroundings. Some things could be overlooked and need to be addressed.
Make sure that your room and other commonly used rooms are safe from falling incidents. Incidents involving falls for seniors can be costly both financially and bodily. Falls result more then 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 fatalities per year. So take time to go over the surroundings and make sure there isn’t anything that can cause a fall. Look for out of place electrical cords and unsecured and out-of-shape rugs, as those are leading causes for tripping and falling incidents.
Accessibility is another thing to keep in mind, especially if you or your loved one has ongoing medical issues involving accessibility. For example, if you or your loved one is confined to a wheel chair, it would be advised that all of the rooms are wheelchair accessible and have the right accommodations. Even if you don’t have a condition like that one, accessibility could also mean access to shelved items or items on a highly placed cabinet. If anything, consider planning to keep your items within easy reach.
Personalizing Your Senior Living Apartment To Your Tastes
Now that you have address the concerns of safety, layouts, space management, and other important factors, now you can focus on making your senior living areas more like your old home. Here are a few tips on how to do so.
Hang Up Your Favorite Paintings and Photographs from Your Old Home
It might be hard to take in a new environment, it’s especially hard on your emotions. The best way to counteract these harsh feelings is to recreate your new place by making it look like your old place. Start off by pulling out your favorite photographs and paintings and arrange them in a way similar to the way when you were living in your old home. While it won’t be the same thing, the familiarity will help you get through the transition a bit easier.
If Your Community Allows It, Paint the Walls to Make it Match Your Old Home
A number of communities will give flexibility to its residents to have them paint their new living space to a color of their choosing. You can do it yourself (which makes a great way to pass the time) or you can have a professional do it for you before you move in.
If you don’t want to paint the colors of the wall to match your old home, painting your wall to a specific color can actually help your senior living lifestyle. According to companies like Sherwin-Williams, certain colors can help making senior living even better. For example, warm neutral colors like shades of cream and sand promote a sense of comfort and warmth while rich colors like barn red and plum purple give a feeling of independence and invigoration.
Indoor Plants Can Brighten Up Your Senior Living
It’s been proven that plants can make people live longer, including seniors. Aside from adding quality to the air in your living space, it can add more benefits to one’s own lifestyle. These benefits include lower levels of depression, more likely to be socially engaged, and more engaged in physical activity.
Create a Space that is More Socially Engaging
An active social life is vital to one’s own senior lifestyle. Seniors that are more socially active are likely to live longer and fuller lives. Which is why you should design your room to promote a more social welcome to neighbors and other visitors. Things like well placed seating and easy access to games can help promote one’s social life in your new senior living setting.
Choosing the right community with the right kind of senior living apartment or housing is vital, but personalizing it to fit your needs and comfort level is just as important. If you are still having trouble finding a community that will let you design your environment personally, consider using the Smart Choices Tool to figure out which senior living style and community is best for your needs. Using this tool can be greatly beneficial in your search. When you find your perfect senior living community, remember to plan ahead with the design. Having your own design ready can make the transition faster and easier as well as help make the best years of your life comfortable and easy.