Decorating for Senior Citizens

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Safety and comfort are important when decorating for senior citizens.
Safety and comfort are important when decorating for senior citizens. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Senior citizens today remain active well into their golden years. As a result, their surroundings should be decorated for safety and comfort. This means focusing on function as well as beauty. You can do this by considering practical additions to the home, relying on color schemes that are warm and calming, and keeping decor simple and personal. In addition, you should also be sure the senior has input in the decorating process.

Safety First

When choosing new furniture, make sure corners are rounded rather than sharp. Chairs and sofas should be a little higher than usual and have armrests. This will make it easier for seniors to get up and down. Soft carpet on floors is ideal as tile and waxed hardwood floors can be slippery. Also note that area rugs can cause trips and falls. If you plan on remodeling, helpful changes include counter tops with rounded edges and a walk-in shower. As an additional precaution, install emergency alert systems in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

Lighting Sources

As people age they tend to have trouble with their eyesight. You can help accommodate vision problems by painting walls in light, cheerful colors such as ivory, eggshell or pale yellow. Even dark paneling can be painted over with light-colored paint. You can also brighten a room by placing lamps on side tables and desks, and installing window blinds that are easy to open and close. Don't forget to set up nightlights throughout the house for ease of movement at night.

Decorating with Memorabilia

Display war medals, old postcards or other memorabilia in large frames. Not only will they bring back pleasant memories, they will also serve as conversation pieces. Collectibles can be shown off as well. For example, you can display plates and bowls by removing the doors from a cabinet and applying decorative trim around its edges. Many seniors have photo albums or boxes full of pictures. Select some snapshots to exhibit as collages in large frames. You can also make attractive memory boards that can be placed in the kitchen for notes and reminders.

Staying Active

It's important for seniors to remain active as long as they are physically and mentally able. To encourage this, keep a chess board or favorite game displayed on a small table in the living area. A magazine rack, reading chair with side table, and accessible bookshelves are great features for readers. And groupings of house plants are ideal for indoor gardeners. Whatever the senior's favorite activity, supplies can be kept handy in decorative wicker baskets.

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