Designing for Seniors
on August 24th, 2016 in Interior Design | No Comments
When it comes to design, two factors stand out as the most important: form and function. Seniors have
specific needs when it comes to furniture, space and other aspects of design. Unsafe surfaces or furniture make injuries much more likely for seniors than for younger people. However, having design aspects that remind seniors of home is also crucial — for more reasons than one.
While form and function are important, there is one other factor, backed by science, that must be kept in mind. Our subconscious minds take in our surroundings and form ideas, moods and even behaviors based on it. Here’s how we at Dogwood Forest take all of these aspects into effect when we build and design our assisted living communities.
When it’s possible and practical, we want our residents to bring the furniture they have had for many years with them. We know that even a bedside table can hold sentimental value. However, sometimes that’s simply not possible, whether it’s too big to move or isn’t safe to have around. In those instances, buying furniture that is both beautiful and fits the needs of residents is the way to go. Make sure your loved one is involved in the design process so they have furniture they can enjoy having through their golden years.
There is another reason we encourage residents to bring furniture from home. Seniors who live with dementia or Alzheimer’s may find relief and comfort in being surrounded by familiar pieces. It is a tie to their earlier lives that keeps them anchored and helps them retain memories that may otherwise be lost. Even something as simple as artwork, photographs or knick-knacks can hold years and years of precious memories that may otherwise be forgotten.
Of course, perhaps the most important aspect is function. While that glasstop table may have been in the family for decades, such sharp corners are not safe for seniors who may stumble and hurt themselves. In addition, the armchair your grandmother may have rocked you in when you were a baby has now seen years and years of use. Such well-worn seats may be very difficult to get out of, which can easily lead to injuries. The best kinds of seats are those that can are power recliners that can lead forward and assist seniors in standing up.
Of course, your loved one will spend much of their time in bed, sleeping or just relaxing. You will want to ensure they have one that is easy to get in and out of, even if that means using a stepstool. If they suffer from breathing or circulation problems, an adjustable bed can be a great choice. Whatever bed you choose, make sure it provides the support they need to sleep comfortably and wake up without unnecessary aches and pains.
Every aspect of design has been proven to affect your subconscious. Think about it: If you were to walk into a stark white room with spartan furnishings, you may feel as if the room were cold, even medical. However, a room with autumn colors and lush furniture makes you feel right at home. We take this into consideration when we design our common areas. Certain furniture arrangements can also make a space feel much bigger, which is great for our residents who are moving from a large family home to one of our apartments. While our apartments are spacious, they are, of course, not nearly as big as a three-bedroom home.
If you don’t have a shred of designing skill, don’t worry. Dogwood Forest’s staff includes an interior designer and a move-in specialist, so we can recommend the best types of furniture to buy for your loved one. For more information about our communities around Metro Atlanta, visit our website or contact us today.