Cozy space in a retirement home

suzy1January 23, 2013
My 91 year old Mom is being moved to a studio room in an assisted living facility. How do we arrange a small space and make it as cozy as we can and welcoming to her family members? I don't have photos, but it has a full bath, small kitchenette in the entry way and a 10x14 bedroom, living space. The walls are white white and the ceilings are 10 feet. There is a window on one of the long walls with the heating system under it.

Marg's daughter
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Hi Suzy,
I had to do this twice for my mother (also named Marg) as she moved into different spaces in a continuing-care retirement community. The first space had a kitchenette and small separate living room area; the second was just one large room with a private bathroom. In a room the size you are describing, the goal should be to fit a bed, dresser, TV (if she wants one), and enough comfy seating for her to have a guest or two visit. And if there isn't an eating space in the kitchenette, you'll probably need a small one or two-seater breakfast table that can double as a desk. We found a small square cherry table (the size of a card table) that worked perfectly for that purpose. It will help open up space for an easy chair or two (nothing too large or overstuffed) if your mom can sleep in a single bed (my mother insisted on keeping her double bed, but we still managed to make things fit). It helps to put the bed in a corner against the wall to create maximum seating room. The white walls are boring and you probably aren't allowed to change them, but some nice artwork on the walls can do wonders. And well-framed photos of grandkids are always appropriate. Avoid area rugs--they are usually not allowed in assisted living facilities because they can be a danger for tripping and falling.
    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 7:14AM
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Thank you for your input. She currently has a Queen Size bed and I think we are going to need to keep that. It is a going to be an interesting experience. I appreciate your thoughts and will continue to work to see what can be done.
    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 7:56AM
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If your mother has difficulty getting in and out of bed, place it so that there is room for an assistant.

If your mother has memory problems, bring as many "memories" as you can, but avoid cluttering the space.
Vision: bedding, clothing, comfortable chair, dishes and kitchen items, kitchen linens, three favorite books, three favorite magazines, favorite artwork, photos. Take photos of every wall her existing home with all the things on the shelves, etc. for visual reminders. Try to arrange her bed so that the sun comes through the window at the same time of day that it does in her bedroom now.

Smell: Bring all the same soaps. Laundry soap, bath soap and shampoo, dish soap/washing up liquid.

Touch: Bring her favorite clothes, bedroom slippers, blanket. If she likes her hair styled just so, try to arrange for that. If she always wears her wedding ring, be sure she has it, AND be sure she has it every time you visit

Taste: Bring the same brands of foods she is used to eating.
Same toothpaste, denture supplies.

Hearing: Bring a list of your mother's favorite television programs, along with the day/time/channel. An assistant can help her get ready to watch the television much easier with a list for each day of the week. Same thing with radio programs.
    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:12AM
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