Blending Style and Safety
Whether buying a first home or moving into a new apartment, there is an important connection we make between where we live and what our spaces look like. Maplewood Senior Living is designed with that connection in mind, offering an essential feeling of home for the residents in our communities. At the same time, we develop our communities to be safe, from the dining rooms to the hallways to the courtyards. It’s all in the details, when it comes to blending style and safety.
A few key areas to focus on when touring a senior community:
These should be easily accessible to accommodate all. Large entry ways also make it easier to move furniture in for your loved one. Bright, well-lit entrance areas should allow for greater visibility of sidewalk and flooring transitions.
If operational, should be limited to the opening that is provided for the safety and security of the residents in the community. This is something that should be considered in both private, apartment spaces, but also in common areas.
Not always stylish, but always an added safety mechanism, grab bars go a long way to prevent falls. Installing these as towel bars allows you to have the security necessary, while still providing the functionality of the towel bar.
Modern bathrooms with ample open space around the toilet and shower entry, as well as zero-entry shower areas have grown in popularity. The advantage of this style is also its ability to accommodate staff members as well as the resident if/when the need arises. Doors that swing in to a bathroom can limit access by staff or emergency personnel, if the need arises. Barn style or pocket doors offer a great alternative and add a bit of style.
Patios, courtyards or other outdoor gathering spaces should allow for easy transitions. Residents may need to use canes, walkers or wheelchairs, and outdoor spaces should be accessible regardless of these needs. Relief from direct sun should also be available to keep residents safe in hot, sunny weather – covered porches, gazebos and umbrellas provide alternatives to stay out of the direct sun.
We’ve included a few snapshots of our communities to illustrate some of these key points. Enjoy the photo tour!
Natural Light & Neutral flooring
According to the National Council on Aging, “A growing number of older adults fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness.” Natural light adds to the bright style of common spaces and helps residents see more clearly. As sight diminishes, areas with shadows or dark corners can cause confusion and missteps, leading to an unnecessary fall.
Carpet patterns are also considered when choosing design elements for our communities. Brighter colors or busy outlines can cause confusion, which is why we select neutral colors and shapes that contrast subtly and assist with depth perception. Whether the flooring is carpet or wood, we focus on smooth transitions between floor types. Easy transitions between floor types assist residents who are walking on their own and, of course, those who may need the aid of a walker or wheelchair.
Flexible spaces throughout a community allow for greater functionality within spaces. Apartment layout/size options will be able to meet a variety of needs. With the flexibility to add familiar items, as in most communities to living areas, residents can personalize where they live and surround themselves with things that feel most like home. Some folks are looking to downsize for the first time and some are transitioning from another community, as needs change.
It’s also important to look for details like the space between furniture, to allow for the movement of wheelchairs or walkers. Fixtures, like bathroom cabinets, outlets and bookshelves should be placed in such a way that they are completely accessible, and don’t require residents to reach too low or too high.
Access to the Outdoors
Regardless of how much natural light you might find inside communities, there is no substitute for being outside and getting some fresh air. According to the Elder Care Alliance, “Research has confirmed that being outside does more than just lift your spirits; it also provides a boost for your physical and mental well-being.” Being outside can increase Vitamin D levels and improve the overall immune system, which is an important part of remaining healthy.
Individual style is an integral part of feeling at home. We recognize this important component of our Maplewood Senior Living communities while incorporating ways to ensure safety and well-being. If you enjoyed the photo tour, and would like to see our communities up close and personal, please contact us.We’d love to give you a private tour!