Entering any loved one into an aged care facility is a massive and sometimes challenging change; for both them and their families. However, this transition can become much smoother with thoughtful consideration and intentional designs, making their new house a home.
Five essential tips for creating a warm and comforting space out of an aged care facility are laid out in this blog post, providing insight into how to start the transitioning process. These tips will focus on generating a sense of comfort and belonging, while also enhancing the overall health and well-being of an elderly loved one.
The simplest and yet most effective method to make an aged care facility feel like a home is by creating a personalised space. This typically requires familiar touches and features, taken from home to make residents feel like they are in charge of their space and that it feels comfortable.
Always encourage residents to bring their most cherished belongings from home. This can be a stack of favourite blankets for their bed, small pieces of well-loved furniture, or family photos. Surrounding themselves with these familiar items can provide residents with a strong sense of connection and continuity, settling them into their new environment.
Aged care facilities themselves can help this process by creating personalised nooks within each resident’s living space. This area can be transformed into whatever the resident finds most comforting, such as a reading corner, or a space to display personal mementos or gifts and notes from loved ones. Such personal touches can go a long way to make a facility feel less institutional and more like a home.
The appearance and aesthetics of an environment have been found to play a significant role in the emotions it evokes within residents. During the designing process of an aged care facility, it is important to incorporate elements that will create a homely atmosphere. Interior design in such a space should focus on warm colour schemes, comfortable furniture, and soft furnishings to formulate an overall feeling of coziness and invitation.
Lighting can also be used strategically to add to the homey feel of an aged care facility. Choose soft and warm lighting sources to open up spaces and make the atmosphere feel welcoming. These design elements should not just be incorporated into residents’ private rooms, but also communal areas to foster a strong sense of community amongst residents. This can help the facility feel much more like a home.
One of the key aspects that makes a space feel like a home is a strong sense of community and regular social engagement. This can reframe ageing as something that is positive, supporting the quality of life for most residents.
Plan meaningful activities that directly cater to the interests and abilities of the residents, encouraging them to socialise with others and attempt new things. Regardless if it is the form of arts and crafts, music therapy, or days spent gardening outside, these activities foster both a sense of purpose and connection to the space around them. You can learn more here about positive ageing and its importance for elderly individuals.
Social interactions between residents can also be encouraged through the implementation of communal spaces. These areas should be welcoming to conversation and bouts of interaction, which can be achieved through interior design. Regular events, outings, and group activities such as senior-appropriate workouts should also be organised to engage the residents and share experiences. This not only enhances the quality of life for residents but also contributes to a more homely and vibrant atmosphere.
Food is an integral part of our daily lives, and this does not change once we have entered an aged care facility. Ensuring that the dining environment of residents is inviting, well-lit, and designed to encourage social interaction during meals can improve the feeling of being at home. Eating meals together has been proven to offer various benefits, so communal dining space sin facilities is crucial for residents’ well-being.
This sensation can be further encouraged through the meal options on offer. Providing a variety of both nutritional and delicious meal options, that can also cater to individual needs and preferences, is crucial. When combined with regular occurrences of familiar and comforting dishes, mealtime can evoke a sense of home and nostalgia. The residents can also be incorporated into the meal planning process to give them a greater sense of control and transform the facility into a home.
Sitting at the core of a home-like aged care facility is compassionate and person-centred care. All staff members should be trained to provide care with empathy and respect, focusing on a resident’s individual needs and preferences. The simple act of taking the time to understand their lives, interests, and values is what allows residents to enjoy a more personalised and compassionate environment.
Furthermore, open communication should be encouraged between residents, their families, and staff members. Seeking out feedback and actively involving residents in key decisions about their care and daily routines can make them feel valued and safe in their space.
Creating an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect is also essential for fostering a true sense of home within the facility.
It takes only a little time and effort to transform an aged care facility into a home for residents. By following the tips above, their physical, emotional, and social needs can be met, creating an environment that supports the well-being and comfort of residents.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide a space where residents feel valued, connected, and at home. With careful consideration and a commitment to person-centred care, aged care facilities can become warm, welcoming, and nurturing environments that enhance the quality of life for those in their care.