After researching and touring assisted living communities, you’ve helped your aging parent decide to downsize to a senior apartment. Now, it’s time to support your parent through the process of moving into their new space. One of the best ways to ease the transition to assisted living for your parent is by making their apartment feel as comfortable and home-like as possible.
When it’s time to furnish and decorate your parent’s apartment, follow these tips to make their new place feel just like home.
Less is more
Chances are, many of your parent’s current furnishings and possessions won’t fit into their new, smaller space. Starting the downsizing process early will give you and your parent more time to take inventory of their current belongings and determine what to keep, store, donate, or toss. Be sure to review the apartment layout and use exact space measurements to avoid overcrowding the space.
Choose the right furniture
Keep in mind that large furniture can look out of place in a smaller room. This is why instead of taking their current furniture with them when they move, many senior living residents end up purchasing scaled-down versions of their couch, armchair or loveseat, kitchen and end tables, dresser, and nightstands. While you don’t have to replace every piece of furniture, you also don’t have to recreate your parent’s previous home completely. Buying at least a few new pieces can be an opportunity for a fresh decorating start. Just remember to bring along the apartment measurements and layout while furniture shopping to ensure you’re getting the right sizes.
Use plenty of lighting
The right lighting will make any small space look bigger. Use multiple lighting sources, including floor lamps and table lamps, to help open up a room. Motion-sensor night lights are a great idea for bathrooms and hallways.
Adding a few houseplants can go a long way in making your parent’s senior apartment feel warm and inviting. Even a small, no-fuss plant like a succulent will help to liven up their room and contribute to better air quality. It can be fun for your parent to care for a plant and watch it grow or bloom over time, but if your parent isn’t a fan of tending to plants, opt for faux greenery or flowers as décor. Today’s silk plants look highly realistic and bring color and vibrancy to any space.
Display photos and memories
Being surrounded by photographs of friends and family members may help your parent feel more comfortable in their new place and less homesick about leaving their previous home and neighborhood. Along with traditional photo frames and albums, consider incorporating a few digital photo frames. Digital frames can store hundreds of photos at a time, allowing your parent to enjoy a montage of their favorite memories without taking up too much wall space.
Maximize storage space
With less square footage, you might need to get creative with storage space in your parent’s apartment. Consider using functional storage pieces that can double as stylish furniture. For example, an ottoman with a lid can be used to store books or throw blankets. A coffee table with a shelf or drawer can keep knick-knacks out of sight. To keep desks and tables clutter-free, install floating shelves for displaying books, photos, DVDs and other items. Out-of-season clothing and shoes can be stashed under the bed in a plastic bin.
Keep guests in mind
Perhaps the best way to make any living environment feel like home is by filling it with friends and loved ones. Make sure your parent’s apartment has enough seating for when visitors stop by. For instance, a comfy loveseat can be a great place to chat with a neighbor over a cup of coffee. A small table with a few chairs can become a go-to spot for a game of chess, checkers, or cards.
Of course, one of the best perks of living in an assisted living apartment is that there are plenty of social opportunities to enjoy within the community! Encourage your parent to branch outside of their private apartment and meet and mingle with the other residents in common areas. Once they’ve settled in and made some friends in the community, it won’t be long before your parent feels comfortable and confident in their new apartment.