Settling in to a new community can be a challenge. This is especially true for seniors, as in most cases, they have lived in the same place for many years, if not their entire lives. So how do you help your loved ones settle in with style and create a space they can feel happy to call home?
Surround Them with What They Love
First, start with what they love. What hobbies and passions light them up? Are they travel-adventurers? Animal lovers? Model plane enthusiasts? Gardeners? As loved ones age, their passions don’t simply disappear. Due to health restrictions, they might not be jumping out of planes or traversing through the jungle, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still identify with those same hobbies and interests. The rule here is simple: if the memory or hobby makes them smile, it can go up on the wall, or on the dresser, bookcase or night stand in the form of collectables. Once you have a focused theme, the style possibilities are endless.
Pictures are an authentic, beautiful way to tell the story of someone’s life. Try creating a gallery wall of all the things they love. A gallery wall, also knows as a “salon wall,” is a collection of photos, paintings and memorabilia that represent a particular theme. Don’t be afraid to hang different sized photos, memorabilia, and paintings that speak of their passion and favorite memories. Photos-to-canvas are also a fun, new way to display favorite memories. A gallery wall is also an opportunity to create a warm, inviting space that fosters familiarity and positive feelings.
Make it a Family and Friends Project
Consider opening up this project to friends and family. Sometimes our friends and family members have a great photo in their possession which speaks volumes of that moment in time. Invite them to share their favorite photos and ideas to create a personal space your loved one will cherish. You might want to limit their submissions to their favorite top 10, or you’ll be sorting through piles of memories!
Once you’ve gathered all the favorite photos, paintings and memorabilia, you can start to design your gallery wall. Arrange the items on the bed or floor first, getting a sense of how the gathered items will look on the wall. Once you’re satisfied with your arrangement, you’re ready to put them on the wall.
If gardening is their love, find some enchanting photos of roses and unusual flowers and put them in colored frames that pick up some of the color schemes of the room. Accent it with a ceramic or iron sculpture of a flower. Did your loved one win awards for their passion? Hang the ribbon in a prominent place on the wall. The great thing about starting with what they love, is you can’t go wrong, because it all speaks to their passion.
Create an Inviting Space Using Favorite Blankets, Quilts and Fabrics
Charlie Brown’s Linus had the right idea carrying that treasured blanket with him everywhere he went. It’s nurturing to have our favorite things around us. Don’t store those favorite quilts, as they surely have their place in the new space. If there’s room, get a quilt hanger and place it near the bed, combining soft chenille throws in shades to accent the room.
Now that the bulk of the design is complete, it’s time to add your themed accents like decorative jewelry or coin holders, ceramic lotion dispensers, Kleenex holders and a few decorative accents like pillows or figurines. When it comes to knick-knacks, less is more (and less to dust) but at the end of the day, it’s whatever makes your loved one smile.
When your task is complete, the room should feel like a lush, tactile walk down memory lane, with all the nuances that represent a life well lived.
We’re happy to welcome your loved ones and help them settle in with style at Senior Living Management communities.