One of the biggest reasons why a senior may hesitate to move into Assisted Living is because they don’t want to leave “home.” This can be both a practical matter (I don’t want to move my stuff, the house is paid off, it’s nice to have the extra space) or it can be an emotional matter (this is where we raised our kids, it’s belonged to the family forever, I simply don’t want to give it up). Whatever the reason, it mainly stems from the fear of losing “home.”
“They say home is where the heart is, and for many people, their heart is linked to the physical structure,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Moving away from that very personal place is a step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s okay to grieve the loss of ‘your home,’ since it has played such an important role in the past.”
But that shouldn’t stop you, Andrea says, from moving into a new “home” to begin a new chapter of your life. “There are lots of ways you can decorate your Assisted Living apartment to honor your past while still making it new,” she says. “It’s all about balance, looking at your needs and recognizing what’s really important to you.”
Here are nine tips to making your new home feel like, well, home.
- Remember “Something Old”
Downsizing doesn’t mean getting rid of everything. Sure, you can’t take the 12-foot dining room table or the room-sized wraparound couch. But you can take the things that mean the most to you, because they’re your link to the past. Your breakfast table, your antique lawyer’s bookcase, a few favorite pieces of Wedgwood® china – pick and choose your favorites, and then sell the rest or gift items to friends and family.
- Buy “Something New”
Who doesn’t love getting new stuff? One of the best parts of moving into an Assisted Living apartment is that you get to play interior designer and create a brand-new space that’s totally your style. Have fun and buy new rugs, curtains, throw pillows, coffee tables – whatever will make your home a home. It’s an excellent time to go a little wild and buy something that you’ve always wanted but never got for whatever reason, like a French press coffee maker or a wine fridge.
- Get Creative with Your Storage
No matter how much you downsize, you’ll probably still have a lot of stuff. And depending on your new place, you may not have a whole lot of storage space. In order to maximize your square footage, consider furniture that serves a double-purpose, like an ottoman that opens up to store blankets (and can become a low table by adding a tray).
- Use Photos for Decoration
Your family and friends are what’s important in life, so why not use them to really warm up the space? Place photos around your new place, similar to how they were arranged in your old home. Print a big family photo and hang it on the wall. Change out photos every once in a while (or every time you get new ones) to keep things fresh and interesting.
- Add Foliage
A living plant or two is a great addition to any Assisted Living apartment. If you have a large potted plant that you can’t take with you, consider potting some cuttings and taking them. Not only are plants pretty, but they also help improve air quality.
- Make Space for Guests
One of the benefits of an Assisted Living community is making new friends and compatriots. You probably enjoyed entertaining friends, family and other guests at your old place, and we imagine you’ll want to do the same in your new apartment. As you’re decorating, make sure there’s a space where you can entertain a few people for game night or a cozy dinner party. Don’t forget extra chairs or tables so that guests have a natural place to sit and relax.
- Make Room for Hobbies
Yes, Assisted Living communities have a full schedule of events and activities that you can take part in. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’re not going to have a place where you want to escape to read a book, do embroidery or knitting or whatever other hobbies you enjoy. Mark off a corner or a space that’s dedicated to your hobbies so you have a space for your materials and tools – as well as a way to keep everything organized and neat so things aren’t just scattered across the counter or the kitchen table.
- Consider Your Abilities
It’s annoying to recognize it, but it’s possible that you may need a little “extra” from your décor now that you’re getting older. Like that favorite comfy chair you use to watch TV? It may not be the best fit, since the deep, soft cushions can be difficult to climb out of. Think about things that will make your life easier: brighter lighting in the bathroom, or contrasting colors in the kitchen to help delineate what goes where. The more you can take care of before you settle in, the easier it will be.
- Name It & Own It
The easiest way to make a new place feel like home? Start referring to it as that. Yes, it can be a bit of a psychological stumble at the beginning, but the more you can name your apartment as your “home,” the more you’ll be able to internalize it. Using all the tips listed above, we imagine it won’t take very long before the word “home” comes naturally.
Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care
Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any seniors needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.
Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.
At The Reutlinger, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.
For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.