There’s more than just beauty to consider when designing your assisted living property. To create a successful, welcoming atmosphere for older adults, it’s crucial to be strategic in your designing efforts. There’s nothing worse than walking into a senior living facility that resembles a hospital – or worse, a prison. Fluorescent lighting, white walls and unattractive flooring won’t work in this environment. Your tenants deserve to live in a space that feels like home. So, let’s create one for them!
We’ve worked on countless assisted living properties over the years and want to share with you some of the top design trends we’ve come across along the way.
Make it Safe and Accessible
This sounds obvious, but if you’re someone who isn’t dealing with some of the physical challenges that come with old age, senior safety and accessibility are easy features to overlook. Safety should be the starting point for every design in a senior living facility. To satisfy people with weakening joints, declining spatial skills, loss of hearing and sight, frailty and other dilemmas, there are several steps you can take.
Let’s start with flooring. Many older adults have trouble with slick surfaces, which contribute to unwanted falls. It’s important to reduce this risk, and there are many fashionable options available. Right now, for example, vinyl plank flooring is a hot trend. With heightened technology, vinyl planks can successfully imitate real wood floors in dozens of styles. They are easy to maintain and help garner a home-like atmosphere.
Handrails are another helpful element to add to the hallways and corridors of your property. To add to the accessibility of the space, incorporate doors that lead easily to outdoor spaces or other rooms. Being able to go outside and breath fresh air is crucial for any tenant, so making it easy to access those spaces is a must.
Get the Lighting Right
According to filmmakers and interior designers, “lighting is everything,” and it’s true. While it’s nice to have low-lighting amidst living rooms, older adults require brighter lighting due to changes in their vision. However, this doesn’t mean unnerving fluorescent light.
Natural light is a great way to liven interior spaces and bring joy to those who have trouble getting outdoors. To respect privacy, think about skylights or half-walls to let light pass through multiple rooms at a time. It’s not incredibly difficult to transform an interior space. All it takes is a thoughtful use of lighting. Mirrors are another creative way to open a room and help reflect light. Just imagine what you would enjoy in your own home.
Paint with Purpose
Color is also mandatory for evoking human emotions. To create a compelling, friendly and purposeful environment, think carefully about paint.
Some colors aid sleep, like lighter shades of blue. Greens are known to help soothe one’s nervous system and evoke relaxation by resembling nature. Yellows stimulate the mind and are linked to clear thinking and concentration. Red relates to strength, willpower and appetite and can be used to treat fatigue, low blood pressure and anemia. A great color for entryways is violet, due to its calming effects.
The list goes on and becomes more involved with lighter and darker shades and their uses. It’s amazing what something so simple as paint color can do to someone’s mood and physical health. Make sure to choose furniture that stands out against flooring and wall-color, so tenants can easily navigate around it.
A Sense of Home
Since senior living facilities are spaces that older adults should be able to call home, it’s important that you make your senior living design to fit their style. Communal spaces should be cozy and elegant, so residents feel comfortable lounging and interacting with one another. There’s nothing worse than finding your room to be the only source of comfort.
Outdoor pleasantries are also imperative to a healthy mindset. Because mobility may be affected for some tenants, having a beautiful garden or natural landscape to look out on is a great way to engage them.
Senior living design can be tricky but utilizing the knowledge and technology we have nowadays makes it easier and more rewarding. Having happy tenants makes your job and life much easier. Just focus on creating a home-like environment in your assisted living property and use strategy to back it up.