For most older adults moving into a senior living community, one of the biggest hesitations is the loss of space. Moving from your family home with its plentiful square footage to a smaller setup can cause quite a bit of anxiety. Where will furniture and other treasured possessions go? Are the walkways spacious enough that moving around is easy?
Choosing a floor plan is one of the most important considerations for space, decoration, and physical health when it comes down to senior living. After all, this new home will need to be not only accessible, but also warm and welcoming.
First things first…
Do you know what level of senior care your loved one will need?
The answer to this question will help you decide what options are available to you.
Residents of independent living communities are fairly autonomous, and typically require little to no help with activities of daily living (ADLs). As such, they often have much more freedom of movement than residents of other senior living communities; the wide selection of living options for independent living residents reflects this fact.
Considerations when researching these floor plans include:
Where will your loved one eat?
If they’re social butterflies, they may opt to eat in their new home’s communal dining room so they can chat up their friends.
If they love to cook, you can find floor plans with attached kitchenettes, so they can still prepare their favorite meals whenever they want. This latter option is perfect for grandparents who want to cook with visiting grandchildren.
If your loved one is sentimental, they may want a larger place, such as a two-bedroom space. This way, they have plenty of storage space for those treasured items, like photo albums and family heirlooms.
Residents of assisted living communities usually need a little bit of help with ADLs, although not as much as residents of memory care facilities do. Assisted living facilities therefore tend to offer more floor plan options than memory care locations, but less than independent living communities do.
All in all, the layouts of assisted living communities and rooms are typically simpler than those of independent living facilities to make mobility easier. Considerations to keep in mind when perusing floor plans include the following.
Depending on your loved one’s abilities, it may be possible to secure them a space with a kitchenette, although most assisted living facilities do not have them for safety reasons. If private kitchenettes are not available, look for a facility that offers communal kitchens.
Accessibility should always be a top concern for older adults.
An accessible space for seniors means:
Memory care communities usually offer less individualized floor plan options than other senior living facilities, since memory care residents typically require closer supervision.
That means many of the room layouts will look similar (and simple). This layout ensures their safety, making mobility and remembering where things are a much easier task. Considerations to keep in mind when browsing floor plans include the following.
Kitchenettes are unlikely options for memory care residents, as the risk of injury is high. Because of this fact, most memory care residents eat in communal dining areas.
Grab bars should be strategically placed to help residents move about their rooms with reduced risk of injury. There should be lots of space and wide walkways to make ambulating easier. Lots of lighting can also help residents more easily see obstacles that can cause serious falls.
Many people think living in a nursing home is a drab experience, but that doesn’t have to be the case! Depending on the needs of your loved one, it’s possible to give their room a complete makeover so that it really feels like home.
The best part?
You don’t need to be an interior designer to renovate these spaces. Just make sure all changes are allowed by the senior living community first.
There are plenty of easy, DIY methods for making a small room seem more spacious. The following tips can elevate your loved one’s senior living experience with minimal effort on your part.
Never sacrifice safety for style. Choose high-quality furniture with senior safety in mind.
For example, if you place a coffee table in the room, make sure it’s both sturdy and has rounded corners. The sturdiness will come in handy as your loved one might use the table for help getting up or down from a nearby chair or sofa, even if they know they aren’t supposed to. The rounded corners will likewise be less likely to hurt than sharper edges if your loved one bumps against the table.
For smaller spaces, sometimes less is more.
For example, a strategically placed coffee table or a nice painting can liven up the room without cluttering it. Adding too much furniture, like a multi-piece sofa set, not only makes the space feel claustrophobic, but it can also make moving about the room more difficult. And for seniors, difficulty moving can mean an increased risk of falls.
In small areas, surface space is valuable, therefore, it’s important to maximize what little space you have. For example, use multi-functional pieces of furniture like an ottoman with storage compartments that both allowing your aging parent a place to rest while also not sacrificing storage space. Another way to save space is to install lights on the walls or ceiling (if allowed) which frees up surface space on tables or nightstands that might otherwise have been occupied by a lamp.
If you’re able, use items like curtains to “zone” areas in your loved one’s room.
For instance, their room might feel clustered with their TV, sofa, and bed all in one space. In order to create the effect of having separate rooms, place curtains between pieces of furniture. In this example, curtains between the sofa and the bed can cast the illusion of a separate bedroom and den. It’s a simple trick that goes a long way to making an open room in a senior living facility feel like a home.
One tried-and-true hack for brightening up small spaces is to place mirrors on the walls; it will make the room appear larger than it actually is. Just make sure the mirror is securely mounted, or you run the risk of injury from falling and broken glass.
Below are some common assisted living room layouts:
One-bedroom options typically have an entryway with a small closet, a bathroom, a small living room, and a bedroom.
A studio would offer a bathroom and an open space that serves as both a den and bedroom.
Two-bedroom options, commonly referred to as “companion suites,” have enough space for two beds. These beds can be in a shared space divided only by a curtain, or they can be in two separate bedrooms.
These floor plans are great options for married couples or for grandparents who want to set up a guest room for visitors, if their community allows them. They’re also perfect for sentimental folks who want more space for their keepsakes.
The national average for a one-month stay in an assisted living facility is $4,300, according to Genworth’s 2020 “Cost of Care Survey”.
Living in a long-term care facility doesn’t have to be a drab experience. For starters, there are plenty of available floor plans for residents of independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities. That means plenty of options for your family members to choose from, so they can select something that both suits their needs and their sense of style. It’s also incredibly easy to liven up even the smallest of bedrooms, so your loved ones won’t have to sacrifice style when moving into their new home.
Browse the thousands of senior living locations in our directory to see what floor plans communities near you are offering!