Making Your New Environment Feel Like Home

9/2/2011
Location : Home Office

By Michelle Seitzer, Seniors for Living

One of the many things I wanted to be “when I grew up” – besides being a missionary, teacher, fashion designer and, of course, writer – was an interior decorator. Though I never pursued it formally, interior design has always been a hobby of mine (I often redecorate a finished room just for the fun of it).

It’s also an area I follow with interest, especially as it relates to my field: elder care. I’ve written dozens of posts about the importance of design in senior living facilities, and not simply in terms of aesthetics but, more specifically, how the physical environment supports – or hinders – function and independence. Though presenting a clean, modern, and attractive image is important, the question of whether the floor lamps are bulky and outdated is not quite as important as whether they offer sufficient light or are placed in a high-traffic area where the cord can present a tripping hazard.

For many, the transition to a senior living community can be a life-altering one. But what better way to make your new environment feel like home than to bring home with you?!

One of the best ways to make the transition go smoothly is to furnish the space with personal belongings, an approach that is strongly encouraged by many assisted living homes – and of course, all Silverado Senior Living communities. 

But it’s not as simple as just positioning your favorite armchair in your new space, or hanging great grandma’s quilt on the wall behind the bed. Sometimes, the furniture doesn’t fit – size-wise, design-wise, or safety-wise. It may not be practical to bring your father’s large antique roll-top desk if his room is not adequately large enough, but if that’s one of his most treasured furnishings, you should make an effort to find a home for it. A little creativity and flexibility can help.

  • Deck the walls.  Leave no space uncovered: Surround yourself with pictures of grandchildren (and their artwork), your favorite paintings and family portraits, prints, textiles, shelves, clocks, and more. Unless you had bare walls in your previous home, this is a perfect way to personalize your new space.
  • Make it cozy. Throw pillows, blankets, and cushions make a world of difference. Cover your couches and chairs with colorful, comfortable accessories.
  • Add some special finishing touches. Keeping fresh flowers in a vase on a coffee table or side table is a simple way to make your space more inviting. Also, a few fancy soaps and decorative hand towels in the bathroom easily exude a warm, home-like feel.
  • Have toys, books, and games available. You probably had a trunk, drawers, or boxes of treats and toys for the grandkids at your home, right? Even if it means condensing or consolidating, make sure you have items available in your new space to keep visiting grandchildren or other young visitors engaged. If you’re an animal lover, you may also want to keep toys and treats available for any four-legged visitors.
  • Put it on the shelf. A classic bookshelf is a great way to create a cozy atmosphere; fill it with books, vases, pictures, and treasures from your life’s travels and it doubles as a conversation-starter.
  • Create curb appeal. You might not have a front porch anymore, but your entryway is still an important focal point that sets the tone for your new home.  And nothing says “home sweet home” like an attractive welcome mat or a lovely wreath on the door. Whatever your style or preference, making your entryway warm and pleasant benefits not only your visitors, but also those who pass through the halls and, of course – you.

 No matter how you choose to decorate your new apartment, room, or cottage, enjoy the process. And remember, anything you can do to make your new living space feel like home will ease the transition tremendously.

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