Moving a loved one into an assisted living apartment can be a challenging transition.
It’s not just about relocating to a new space; it’s about creating a new home that feels familiar, comfortable, and safe.
As a senior home safety specialist and a dementia care specialist, I’ve seen firsthand the impact that a well-furnished and decorated senior living apartment can have on an individual’s well-being.
In this guide, I’ll share some personal insights and practical tips to help family caregivers make the most of this new chapter.
Planning And Prioritizing
When my grandmother moved into her assisted living community, one of the first things we considered was the floor plan of her new apartment.
Understanding the floor plans is crucial to determine how to best utilize the available space.
In her previous post at a larger home, she had ample space, but her new senior living apartment was a smaller living space.
We had to think creatively about which pieces of furniture to bring and where to place them.
It was a perfect time to declutter and decide on the essential items that would make her new place feel like home.
Furnishing For Comfort And Safety
Safety is paramount, especially in a senior living community. In my professional experience, one of the biggest mistakes people make is overcrowding a space, turning it into a tripping hazard.
For older adults, especially those in memory care, clear wide walkways are essential.
I recall working with a family who wanted to bring every piece of furniture from their loved one’s old home.
While the sentiment was understandable, it wasn’t a good idea. Instead, we focused on key pieces like a comfortable bed, a round table for the dining area, and a cozy armchair for the living room.
Multi-functional furniture, like storage drawers built into beds or coffee tables, offers extra storage without taking up additional space.
Personalizing The Space
Making the assisted living apartment feel like a new home is about more than just furniture.
It’s about incorporating personal touches that reflect the individual’s personality and fond memories.
When my aunt moved into her senior-living apartment, she was adamant about bringing her favorite armchair. It was old and a bit worn, but it held sentimental value.
We placed it near a window to maximize natural light, added a side table with a table lamp for reading, and surrounded it with fresh flowers and artificial plants.
It instantly became her favorite spot in her new living space.
Practical Decorating Ideas
In smaller spaces, light colors can make a room feel larger and more open. For my uncle’s studio apartment in his assisted living facility, we chose a soft color scheme with light blues and whites.
We added floor lamps for extra lighting and used mirrors to reflect natural light, making the space feel brighter.
Storage is often a concern in senior living apartments.
Creative ways to add storage include using furniture pieces that serve double duty, like ottomans with storage inside or beds with drawers underneath.
Wall shelves are another simple solution to maximize vertical space.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best way to choose furniture for a senior living apartment?
Consider the size of the new space and prioritize multi-functional furniture that offers storage solutions. It’s also a good choice to select pieces that are easy to move and adjust.
How can I make a senior apartment safe for my loved one?
Ensure there are no tripping hazards like loose rugs or electrical cords. Install grab bars in the bathroom and consider night lights in hallways and common spaces.
How can I add a personal touch to my loved one’s new apartment?
Incorporate their favorite colors, add throw pillows, and use personal items like photos and mementos. Fresh air from open windows and indoor plants can also make the space feel more alive.
Throughout my career, I’ve seen the profound impact that a well-decorated and safe living environment can have on seniors.
It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about creating a space where they feel at home.
Whether it’s choosing the right balance of furniture pieces, adding personal style with decor, or ensuring safety features are in place, every detail matters.
As family caregivers, it’s our responsibility to make this transition as smooth as possible, ensuring our loved ones feel comfortable and cared for in their new home.