Brightening Up Assisted Living

Don't overlook the importance of making the new space feel familiar.
Assisted living facilities must be functional. They must be safe. Ideally, they should also be convenient in proximity to family so visiting is made easier. Of course, it’s important to make sure your loved one is provided for, but you can’t overlook the importance of making the new space feel a little more familiar. Knowing what to bring and what to store when you’re in the middle of helping your loved one through this transition can make the process smoother for everyone involved.

Make the Space Feel Like Home

You know your loved one, and you know the things he or she cherishes. Find those favorite belongings and make sure they’re incorporated in the decor at the assisted living facility. “This will undoubtedly be a big job, so enlist help from your family,” recommends Jeff Anderson, writer at A Place for Mom. “Encourage siblings or other close family members to take a few days off of work. Even children and younger members in the family can participate. Surrounding your senior parents with loved ones who are supportive and encouraging could help ease the emotional stress of moving as well.”

Make the space feel like home. 
Favorite photos can be framed and hung on the wall; books and decor can sit neatly on a shelf. You want your loved one to feel at home, but you don’t want the space to feel cluttered. Too many belongings make it hard to keep clean, and a crowded home can be a tripping hazard. Sentimental items that can’t be used in the space can be stored for later use or gifted to family, friends and favorite charities.

Choose Furniture That Fits the Space

Recreate the look and feel of home by using the same furniture in the assisted living facility. Keep in mind that it won’t all fit, but you can improvise. Filling rooms with too much furniture can make it hard for those with canes or walkers to get around. If a loveseat fits better than a couch, use it! Choose furniture with firm cushions so it’s easy for your loved one to sit down and stand up, and make sure all furniture and tables are stable because the elderly sometimes reach for furniture if they lose their balance while walking or standing up.

Use Color and Lighting

Eyesight changes as we age, so don’t shy away from strong contrasts when you’re decorating an assisted living facility. Colors that make your loved one happy should be used liberally so the space reflects his or her personality.

The lighting you use in an assisted living space can help make the place feel homey and make it more functional. Wall sconces and lamps are great options in the living room and the bedroom. Motion-sensor lighting can illuminate hallways or stairs. In the kitchen, consider adding lighting under the cabinet so the countertops have additional light; this is especially helpful if your loved one is going to prepare nighttime snacks.

Rotate Seasonally

Even the dreariest places can feel fresh again with some new flowers and decorations. As the seasons change, take the time to refresh the decor at the assisted living facility. This also allows an opportunity to see some of the precious belongings that couldn’t be accommodated before. Seasonal transitions present good opportunities to change out your loved one’s wardrobe as well. Bring in some new or different clothing and take out some of the clothes that aren’t appropriate for the upcoming season or which have seen better days.


• Jeff Anderson, “6 Survival Tips for Moving Your Elderly Loved One,” A Place for Mom,
• Carol Bradley Bursack, “Making an Assisted Living Room Feel Like Home,” AgingCare,
• Erin Poole, “10 Ways You Can Add Personal Style to Your Assisted Living Home,”,

Reposted with permission. 

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Carol Marak said...

Great tips on decorating and setting up a room or apartment in a residential care home. But before decorating one, you need to decide on the - visit:

Carol Marak said...

Moving from one's home to a residential care facility is a big adjustment - good tips to enhance it. I also suggest be selective when choosing the right type of room too:

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