The key to a great Assisted or Senior Living residence is making it feel like home. Nobody wants to feel like they are living in an office or hotel. Creating an environment that feels like home rather than a workplace is essential for the well being and comfort of residents. There are certain things that need to happen in order to achieve this goal. The following are some examples.
It all starts right when they walk into the building. There should immediately be a sense of home. Choose decor that creates a warm and comforting atmosphere. Use soft, neutral colors, comfortable furniture, and decorations reminiscent of a home environment. Design common areas with cozy seating, soft lighting, and familiar, home-like features. These areas should feel more like a family room than a lobby.
In the dining room area it should feel just like that. A dining room. Not a cafeteria. It should be a comfortable space for gathering, eating, and socializing. All other places in the facility should be just as warm and welcoming. Even outdoors! Consider adding a patio or garden area for your residents. That way they can enjoy the sunshine on a nice day outside.
Creating a Community
This is a very important aspect of feeling at home. This first begins with the staff. If the staff doesn’t enjoy their job and create an environment of negativity about being there the residents will be affected by it. Train staff to be compassionate, patient, and respectful. Encourage them to engage with residents in a friendly and caring manner, fostering a sense of community.
Another way to create this sense of community is to strive to have the residents build friendships with each other. You can invite this by facilitating interactions between residents and staff. Organize group events, outings, and celebrations to foster a feeling of togetherness. Here at Bel Aire we have daily activities and weekly outings for our residents that they all love. When the staff become friends with the residents and the residents befriend one another the feel of home becomes tangible.
Nothing says home like family. Encourage family visits and involvement in the care and decision-making process. Create spaces where residents can spend quality time with their loved ones. At our facility we encourage family visits by hosting parties for the residents and their families to attend. We recently enjoyed a Halloween Trick or Treat and will soon enjoy a family Thanksgiving dinner. We do this because we know the importance of family in our residents’ lives and also to help this building feel more like home.
Lastly, the importance of feedback. Regulalary seek input from residents about their preferences, concerns, and suggestions to improve the environment. We do this once a month for their food preferences and another meeting for everything else. Our residents love that they get a say in what they eat and what goes on within our facility. After all, it is their home too.
Remember that the goal is to provide the residents with the comfort and security of home while addressing their care needs. Each facility may have unique considerations, so it’s important to tailor these strategies to the specific needs and preferences of the residents and their families. Our staff works in a place of people’s homes. Not a workplace.