While keeping residents’ safety in mind
Moving is a stressful activity. And that stress can be compounded when the move is to assisted living. Both seniors and their families worry about a loss of independence and privacy. Your loved one might feel nervous about making friends and adjusting to a new home. You want to make sure they are comfortable in their new environment.
At Sugarbush Living, we want our residents to feel comfortable in their new space, too. One easy way to do this is to bring personal items from home. But you need to keep safety in mind.
Design and decor decisions are important in assisted living spaces. The right elements ensure safety and improve the functionality of the home. They also make residents feel more at ease.
Consider these 8 tips to make assisted living feel more like home. And download a FREE moving checklist for assisted living below.
Let Your Loved One Make Key Decisions
Going through a lifetime of stuff is difficult for anyone. It’s overwhelming to sort through household and personal items. Caregivers often take charge and decide what to keep and what to toss. But this is your loved one’s home. And their stuff. Let them decide what to bring and what to leave behind. Decision-making autonomy helps seniors feel in control and eases anxiety.
Create a Cozy Environment
Encourage your loved one to bring favorite items from home to their new assisted living place. Personal mementos, like photos and decor, trigger positive memories and improve their mental state. Items related to favorite hobbies provide easy conversation starters. A favorite piece of furniture, like a nightstand or small table, or a collection of favorite books can also help your loved one feel happier and more at ease.
Don’t overlook decor elements. Table lamps soften the glare of harsh overhead lights. Throw pillows, fake plants, and artwork help a home feel cozy. Baskets are a great place to stash cords and other small items to keep clutter off the floor.
Remove Fall Hazards
Be aware of fall hazards in the space. Loose cords can create tripping hazards and fall risks. Medical equipment like walkers and canes can also get snagged on a cord and cause a fall. To reduce the risks of falls, secure cords to the wall with mounting strips or hide them under furniture. Other fall hazards to avoid are throw rugs, clutter, and broken or unstable furniture.
Think about how your loved one will use their new space. Look for easy access to the outdoors and shared spaces like dining rooms, gyms, and craft rooms. Arrange furniture to promote ease of movement through the space. Keep hallways and pathways open and uncluttered.
Place frequently used items within reach. Make it easy for your loved one to get the items they use every day without bending or stretching. Open shelving helps reduce anxiety for residents with memory issues.
Select furniture carefully. Although a soft, pillowy sofa may be comfortable, it is difficult to get up from. Firm sofas and chairs make it easier for residents to move around independently. Consider performance fabrics, such as vinyl, Sunbrella, or other waterproof materials. These fabrics make it easier to clean up spills and help protect furniture from stains.
If space permits, a power recliner is an excellent addition to an assisted living environment. As people age their muscles become weaker. Some medical conditions, like stroke, arthritis, or auto-immune conditions, exacerbate this problem. An electronic recliner can help keep your loved one safe and comfortable.
Many accidents occur in the bathroom. Wet surfaces are slippery and the perfect environment for falls. Reduce risks by installing non-slip tiles and adding rubber decals to tubs and showers. Most assisted living bathrooms have grab bars, but if not, you will want to add them to your assisted living moving checklist. Consider a raised toilet seat to make it easier for your loved one to get up and down. Make sure that the bathroom has sufficient lighting.
Room to Entertain
A comfortable conversation area is a valuable addition to assisted living spaces. Consider an armchair or two, perfect for playing cards. Encourage social interactions by making your loved one’s space warm and welcoming. Hosting friends helps combat loneliness and helps instill pride in the new environment.
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