Moving from a substantial home into a cozy retirement community apartment can be a bit of a challenge for many seniors. That’s why the people at Sunshine Retirement Living go out of their way to make each resident’s transition to a new living space as seamless and as painless as possible.
“We begin the process by reviewing the available apartments or floor plans within the community to help the new resident choose the most appropriate living space for his or her needs and budget,” says Teresa Othmer, Sunshine’s Interior Designer.
Once a floor plan has been decided upon, it’s a great help to measure the rooms and note of the locations of windows, cabinets, electrical outlets and cable boxes, which of course, cannot be moved. This allows the residents to truly envision how their furniture and belongings will fit.
Before moving in, we can offer many suggestions on how take advantage of the space with a healthy dose of flexibility. Some space-saving ideas include:
Replacing large sofas with love seats that deliver comfort with a smaller footprint.
Having ottomans multi-task as coffee tables, foot rests and storage spaces.
Using drop-leaf tables to accommodate the occasional jigsaw puzzle or craft project with the grandkids.
Purchasing handmade baskets to consolidate books, magazines, knitting needles, etc.
“We like to provide as much freedom as possible for residents to express themselves,” says Othmer. “That includes everything from adding a wall mount for a flat-screen TV to bringing in paintings, pottery, plants and photos, as well as throw pillows and blankets that can be changed seasonally for splashes of color and warmth.”
Kitchenettes, bathrooms, bedrooms and living areas are all equipped with essential built-in fixtures and overhead lighting. But residents are encouraged to bring in their own essential appliances (coffee maker, toaster, blender, etc.) along with lamps for reading and other special tasks.
Patios and balconies offer additional areas for residents to make themselves at home. Not only can they furnish it with a couple of chairs or lounges for relaxing with a glass of iced tea or lemonade, they can add color by bringing in resin pots for perennials, annuals or dry arrangements.
“If family members are unavailable to help with personal touches, like hanging pictures, residents can ask the community staff members and maintenance crews to accommodate their special requests,” says Othmer. “We want to do whatever we can to make downsizing an uplifting experience, and make each resident’s apartment is as unique as they are.”