A Detailed Guide On How To Best Decorate A Nursing Home Room

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

The best way to ease the transition to nursing home or assisted living care is to make sure your loved one is comfortable in their surroundings. Here is how to decorate a nursing home room while keeping it safe, convenient and functional.

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Though the care provided in a nursing home can be highly beneficial to both the prospective resident and their loved ones, many elderly people are initially opposed to moving into a care facility. To many it signifies a loss of home, loss of privacy and a loss of independence. Making their new surroundings feel a little more like home might ease the transition.

Importance of Properly Decorating a Nursing Home Room

Note that the colors, hues and decorations that you put up in a senior living center can have a significant impact on how each living space feels. This will, in turn, have an impact on how residents and staff feel on walking into the room.

Remember that each decoration that you put up will evoke certain feelings, memories and moods from your loved one. Some decorations can make a room feel dreary and dull – so, the resident may feel moody and low. You should always strive to make each living space evoke emotions of excitement, peace, love and comfort – and healing!

Below are some tips on how you can achieve this…

#1 Tip: Get The Resident’s Input and Ideas

The first rule when making any changes in a senior’s life is to get their feedback and take their opinions and wishes seriously. This is particularly important if the move is a tense one and you want to get some buy in on the process. Many seniors feel overlooked and invalidated during situations like this, so do not forget to include them in every step.

Top Ideas for Decorating A Long Term Care Room

Here are some tips and ideas for trying to make a nursing home or assisted living room feel like home.

1. Understand The Decoration Policies in The Nursing Center

In a nursing home, you will find shared spaces where all residents can interact and socialize, plus a private residential room for each resident. In most homes, you will only be allowed to customize the decorations in the room specifically designated for your loved one and even in that particular room, there will be restrictions on what you can and cannot do.

Before starting to pack items for your loved one’s room, ask the facility administration if there are any policies in place regarding the customization of living spaces. This could limit whether you are allowed to customize things like color shades in the room, style of window blinds, and if you can bring plants and pets and so on. This will help you form a plan for your loved one to have comfortable stay.

2. Consider the Layout and Size of the Room

The size and layout of the room will have a great impact on the items that your loved one can bring from home. No matter the size and layout of the room, you should try to ensure that any decorations that you make keep the space as functional as possible. When coming up with decoration ideas, ensure that you are working towards being as simplistic, comfortable yet functional as possible.

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3. Understand What is Most Important To Your Loved One

On broaching the topic of moving an elderly loved one to a nursing home, chances are that they will have a sinking feeling of abandonment. The best way to minimize that feeling is to decorate their new room with items that they value and hold dear. When decorating the room, try recreating their usual living space at home as much as possible. Try adding similar décor as well as bringing their favorite pictures, knick-knacks and mementos.

4. Avoid Staged Decorations

Though you may want to give your loved ones a homely feel, avoid bringing any staged decorations such as a bowl of plastic fruit to the nursing home. Items like this can be difficult to keep clean and may get knocked over becoming a fall hazard. Also, residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s may end up confusing the staged decoration for the real thing.

5. Bring Additional Seats for Visitors

Residents of nursing homes often have a lot of personal time on their hands which means that they can easily get bored. They might feel abandoned especially if family members and friends are too busy to make frequent visits.

Social interactions and conversations with other people can reduce feelings of boredom To induce feelings of happiness, consider bringing additional comfortable furniture or chairs so that visitors and other residents will feel welcome and will stay a while.

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6. Work on Creating a Restorative Environment in the Room

Nature is often associated with serenity, comfort and healing. When choosing decorations for your loved ones room, consider making the room as bright and dynamic as possible.

great way to create a restorative environment in a nursing home is to incorporate colors often found in nature. Colors such as green and golden yellow imitating outdoor spaces. Add some bright and alluring paintings of the outdoors if painting the walls is not an option.

7. Include Entertainment for Your Loved One

To keep your loved ones mental faculties sharp and prevent them from sliding into boredom, ensure that you provide them with an endless stream of entertainment options.

For example, if the management allows electronics, you can put up a television where your loved one can access their favorite on-demand shows. You could also accessorize the room with a book case filled with their favorite books. Another great entertainment option in nursing homes is games and puzzles.

With the right entertainment options, your loved one will never be out of options even when they receive visits from other residents.

8. Pay Special Attention To The Color Schemes/Hues You Use To Decorate The Room

As a person ages, eyesight begins to worsen and the ability to see clearly with ambient lighting diminishes. An elderly person will therefore need more color contrast in order to properly see the items around them.

When decorating the walls and surroundings of a loved one’s nursing home, it is best that you stick to intense, vibrant and warm colors. Vibrant colors usually brighten and liven up a room providing a sense of warmth, comfort and security. Ideally, you should consider decorating your loved ones room with colors such as red, rich brown, blue, green, orange, yellow or gold.

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When choosing the color scheme and theme to implement in the room, ensure that there is a high contrast between surfaces and accessories to increase noticeability.

Another great décor idea to consider incorporating is the use of floral patterns. This is because apart from being simplistic in design, they also tend to be beautiful, colorful and evoke a sense of serenity and tranquility.

When decorating an elderly loved one’s room, avoid using dark colors as they can evoke feelings of drabness and depression. These colors are also harder to perceive as one ages.

Another idea is to incorporate shades of your loved one’s favorite color when choosing accessories for the room. This may induce a sense of familiarity in their new surroundings.

Regardless of what choices you make when decorating your loved one’s nursing home room, always strive for a balance between comfort, security, warmth, serenity, and most importantly, a sense of familiarity.

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