11 Decorating Tips for Assisted Living

Decorating can ease the transition into assisted living. Helping someone move into an assisted living facility can be an emotionally fraught experience. Collaborating with loved ones to decorate their new living quarters in a way that helps protect their physical safety and boost their emotional outlook can assist them in their transition, says Julia Bailey, a senior associate and interior design project manager with Denver-based OZ Architecture. “Moving into assisted living often can feel like a loss of independence and privacy for your loved one, but thoughtful interior design can go a long way toward improving happiness and well-being for the resident, as well as improving overall functionality of the new living space,” Bailey says.

Here are 11 assisted living decorating tips that can improve safety and boost the mood of your loved one.

1. Involve your loved one in design details.
It may seem most helpful to prepare the new living space for your loved one before he or she moves in, Bailey says. Instead of decorating unilaterally, involve the incoming resident in the process of personalizing the space. “Give the resident some say over which photos, keepsakes and personal items to move to their new residence, and where to place them once they arrive,” she says. “Letting your loved one help with the smaller aspects of designing his or her new space can help increase their sense of involvement, pride and ownership of their new home.”

2. Remove potential fall hazards.
There are some basic specific things you can do to improve safety in an assisted living unit, says Teri Dreher, a registered nurse who’s president of NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in Chicago. She notes that some elderly people have trouble keeping their balance. “A flat, even surface is key to keeping falls to a minimum,” Dreher says. “For people who might have balance issues, it doesn’t take much to cause a tumble.” She recommends keeping floors free of throw rugs that could present trip hazards, and installing hand railings wherever possible to make getting around easier. Color code the edge of steps with brightly colored tape for greater visibility.

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