Furnishing Ideas for Retirement Apartments
Furnishing a retirement apartment can be a bit tricky and does require some of knowledge to know what will and won’t work. If you plan on furnishing one, here are a few furniture ideas and a few tips to remember.
The first thing you need to do is have practical seating. As we get older, it gets harder to stand up, sit down, bend the hips, etc. Because of this, you need easy and comfortable chairs to get in and out of.
This also applies to any tables around the seating, as you can get rattan and wicker side tables, as long as they are high enough to reach comfortably.
Assistance handles are not only a necessity, it can be the difference between potentially falling and hurting yourself or not. They are best used in the bathroom, especially next to the toilet, in the shower, and as an additional handle above the bath.
They can also be used in passages, the kitchen, the lounge, or anywhere else you may need them. If the person living in the space struggles to walk, having additional handles can be incredibly helpful.
Higher Toilet Seats
Similar to the practical seating section, you also need to be aware that most toilets are incredibly low, and it gets very difficult to stand up if you sit with your hips lower than your knees.
Having a raised toilet seat and an assistance handle will help those who are older or those with mobility problems tremendously.
Raised Beds with Cot Sides
Once again, a raised bed is another idea that will make it easier to get onto and off of again. While not a necessity, cot sides can be very useful for those who move a lot in their sleep or those that can be severely injured in the event of a fall.
Lever Door Handles
Door handles may not be something you think of as needing to be changed, but as we age, so does the way we open doors. Hand weakness/arthritis is very common in the elderly, and therefore, having to grip and twist a door knob can be very difficult.
Lever handles, on the other hand, don’t require a lot of hand strength at all and are also safer as they are easier and quicker to use in the event of an emergency.
Another thing to not overlook is the importance of good lighting. Once again, our sight begins to deteriorate as we age, and having bright and string lights will help those in the retirement apartment to move around easily and see what they are doing.
Once you have begun to furnish the apartment, there are a few things you need to remember to ensure it is a safe and comfortable place to live.
Beware of Carpets/Corners
Beware of adding carpets and mats that are thick or are easy to trip on. If you need to add carpets, you could choose much thinner ones or an alternative. Always remember that an elderly person falling will cause much more damage to them than if they were young.
Also, you need to ensure that you keep corners and doorways free of decorations/clutter. Once again, this can cause an unnecessary tripping hazard.
Only Essential Furniture
One of the most important parts of the apartment should be the amount of space there is. In the event of the resident needing crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair, there needs to be enough space for them to move around easily.
This is especially true in an apartment, which, unless it is a penthouse, will already have very limited space.
Clutter is another thing you need to be aware of. It is important to not have any on the floor, but too much clutter also means there is more stuff to clean. As mentioned before, this space needs to be comfortable and easy to move around; too much clutter doesn’t allow for that.
Make the Space Easy to Clean/Maintain
Building on the last point, design the interior of the space to make it easy to clean and maintain. Each corner of the house should be easy to reach, so don’t add fixtures that are too high to reach. Use tiles where you can add, as they are easier to clean and keep clean.
Think about how you would go about cleaning the space if you were injured or encumbered in some way. This is how you should arrange furniture, decide what materials to use, etc.
Wide/Easily Accessible Doorways
Finally, if you are in the process of having this apartment built or you can renovate it, one of the first things you should do is to make the doorways as wide as you can. Once again, this is for some of the reasons stated above.
You want the doorways to be easy to get through if you have crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair, as the last thing you want is for the resident to be caught off balance trying to get through a narrow doorway while they are on crutches, for example.