Many seniors live in collective settings, like nursing homes and personal care facilities, and these residences often reflect their fundamental nature: they’re institutional, and they look the part. Cold, hard, and impersonal, they’re not the kind of places that we envision our parents or grandparents living. But do they really have to be that way?
While there are certain advantages to institutional design, particularly when it comes to safety and cleaning, there’s no reason that other areas can’t contain a little more personality. These three décor upgrades can make care facilities feel a little more like home – without compromising care – just check with the facility about their policies first.
1. Introduce Plant Life
Outside of ICUs, sending flowers to individuals in hospitals and nursing homes is a common thing to do. There’s no reason, then, that your loved one’s space couldn’t include a few decorative plants, especially if the person was known for their green thumb earlier in life. Plants are also an excellent choice, since they’re known to improve air quality and even boost people’s moods.
2. Soften Things Up
One of the most common traits of nursing homes and care facilities is that they tend to be hard and sterile, but those traits aren’t particularly welcoming. That’s why some facilities, particularly smaller senior communities and personal care homes, already choose to decorate with comfortable furniture, soft colors, and welcoming art.
These are also the types of facilities where residents may eat meals in a traditional family-style dining room or gather around a fireplace, but it’s possible to introduce these sorts of elements in more traditional nursing facilities as well.
What comforting details should you add to your loved one’s room? While you should certainly give them the most control possible, one way you can furnish the space and ease their transition is by picking out items like a favorite bedspread or painting during the downsizing process. Choosing from among these items can provide a sense of continuity and familiarity in a new living environment.
3. Consider Medical Needs
Decorating for comfort is an important part of making an unfamiliar space welcoming, but what’s comfortable to you may not be well-suited to your family member’s needs. Consider, for example, cushy armchairs: as much as you might like them, firm couches and chairs are a better choice, because they’re easier for older adults to get in and out of.
In a similar vein, high contrast styles may not be very appealing to you when it comes to your own home’s décor, but choosing contrasting colors for doors, switches, and even furniture and walls can make it easier for individuals with low vision and dementia to navigate their space. That doesn’t mean everything needs to be black and white, just that you should consider how you use color when decorating to ensure the space is both comfortable and easily navigable.
Our homes are extensions of ourselves, and when someone moves into a care facility, it’s easy for them to feel as though they’ve had to give up a part of themselves. By carefully decorating the space, though, you can ensure that their new home isn’t just a roof and four walls, but the next step on life’s journey.
Keep being AllDayChic!