Care Guides > 15 Ways to Make Care Home Rooms Feel Like Home

15 Ways to Make Care Home Rooms Feel Like Home

A nurse speaking to a care home resident in her room
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Adapting to new routines and environments is often challenging. Elderly people entering care homes have the added difficulty of leaving behind properties where they have accumulated years of cherished memories.

If you or someone close to you will be making the move into a care facility, you may be considering how to ease the transition.

In this post, Lottie explores the benefits of personalising care home rooms and offers our top tips for doing so.

Benefits of Adding Personal Touches to Your Care Home Room

Care homes are designed to offer comfort to residents, whilst meeting the practical and safety requirements of people with limited mobility or capacity. However, this means care home rooms can seem impersonal to new residents.

Customising your space in a care facility can make the rooms seem less clinical. By adding your own personal items and preferences to the accommodation, it should feel more familiar and homely.

Further, some elderly people find that entering a care home can be disempowering. This has negative implications for mental health, but can be avoided.

Decorating gives the opportunity to add your own stamp to the room. This will help to protect your sense of agency and identity as you enter new living circumstances.

1. Ease the Transition with Visits in the Lead Up to the Move

The first way to make a new room feel homely begins before moving in. If you are able to visit the space several times ahead of the day, you can become familiar with the facility and people living there, so that the change feels less abrupt.

The majority of care homes will allow you to visit before choosing to take a place there and are likely to let you visit after you have confirmed. COVID-19 restrictions may affect this, so you should speak with your future care provider to understand their policies.

A care home room

2. Hang Photos of Loved Ones

Putting up pictures of your friends and family is an absolute must for elderly people. Filling the walls with familiar faces will remind you of happy times and all the love you have around you.

The majority of care providers will allow and even help you to hang these photographs, as their importance is well-established. If you are unsure of doing the hanging, reach out to the staff for assistance.

If you or a loved one moving into a care home has dementia, remember to only hang pictures in wooden frames. Shiny surfaces can trigger confusion for people with the condition, so reflective plastic frames should be avoided.

3. Spend Time in the Room with Family Members

Central to making a place feel like home is creating memories in it. There is no better way to do this than having your friends and family gather around you.

You could invite a group in for food or an individual to have lunch. Sharing this meal and some laughter will build happy sentiments around your new living space.

If you are a relative of someone in or entering a care home, you should consider how you can do this with them. Arranging regular visits and bringing additional guests will show your loved one the care and affection you hold for them.

4. Get a Mobile Phone or Computer to Keep in Contact with Family and Friends

The wonders of modern technology also mean that you can stay connected with friends and family from a distance. If pandemic restrictions or living situations create difficulty arranging regular visits, calls via Zoom or FaceTime mean you can still feel close to the important people in your life.

5. Lay Out Items of Sentimental Value

Another way to remind yourself of positive memories and make a room feel more familiar is to put out personal items that hold sentimental value. These will obviously be different for each individual, meaning they’ll also bring some of your identity to the space.

Whether it’s an ornament you’ve owned for years or jewellery passed down to you by family, make a special place for the piece. Each time you look at it you’ll be boosted a little by its emotional significance.

6. Accessorise the Room with Soft Furnishings

Although you may not be able to paint the walls or lay a new carpet, you can personalise the decoration through accessories. These also offer the opportunity to bring in a variety of textures, which is a great way to make a place feel more homely.

Adding throw pillows to chairs or sofas in the room, or a knitted blanket to the end of your bed, will help to create a warmer atmosphere. These can be brought from home, which may have emotional value, or purchased as a moving treat. The bathroom of a care home room

7. Bring Furniture from Home

Decorative changes to your room don’t necessarily have to be limited to accents. Bringing your own furniture can help to make the new accomodation more like your old home.

Each care facility will have a slightly different policy, so you should liaise with them. However, there should be no issue with you adding items to make you more comfortable, such as a favourite chair or footstool.

However, you should keep in mind that care homes must follow strict health and safety regulations. This means furniture will need to be fire retardant.

8. Take Your Own Bedding

There’s no feeling like sleeping in your own bed. Make your first night in the new care or nursing home room as peaceful as possible by bringing your own sheets.

The familiar scent and feel of your own quilt and pillows will make your bed as close to the old one as possible. Getting in here will help to soothe any nerves and send you off to a restful sleep.

9. Brighten the Room with Your Favourite Colours

Changing the accessories, such as new pillows or sentimental possessions, also gives you the opportunity to refresh the colours in your care home room. Colours have a significant effect on mood, so can be a powerful way to make the space more homely.

When choosing which items to use, you should consider how the different colours may work to make a happy living space. You could add green, which has been shown to be relaxing for people, or pops of your favourite colour, to bring out some of your personality.

10. Finish the Decorating with Fresh or Silk Flowers

Connecting with nature has wonderous benefits for mental health and can therefore be useful at stressful times in life, such as a move. Many care homes have access to a garden for this reason, but you should also think about bringing it into your room with flowers and potted plants.

The advantage of purchasing fresh flowers is that they will bring natural, uplifting scents. However, the cost of regularly purchasing these for a space may not be practical for all people.

Those who do not feel able or wish to replace plants often could instead buy silk flowers for decoration. Although the bouquet will lack natural aromas, the site will add cheer to your room.

11. Infuse the Space with Familiar Smells

Flowers aren’t the only way to add nice smells to your new home. This sense is deeply linked to memory and can be a great reminder of the past.

You should consider adding items that bring meaningful scents, which will add familiarity to the space. This could come from air fresheners that you have used for many years, scented candles or a meal that you have eaten frequently before.

These aromas can spark nostalgia and make the room more relaxing.

12. Play Music that Evokes Happy Memories

Sound also has strong ties to recollection and can help to soften the transition into your new environment. A familiar sound can trigger an old memory or thoughts of a close friend, which will associate the space with happy feelings.

Music in particular has the power to do this. Whether it’s the song that played for your first dance or one you heard on the car radio every day, you should listen to these tracks in your room to lift the mood and enjoy the positive emotions.

You can do this in a variety of ways, such as bringing a radio, CD player or searching for songs through YouTube and other streaming services.

13. Bring Hobbies and Crafts to Maintain Your Independence

The disempowerment that some older people feel when going into care can be best avoided by maintaining a sense of identity and ability. Bringing hobbies that allow you to continue exercising a skill or interest can therefore be vital.

You may already be engaged with one of these activities, but if you are not, it’s not necessarily too late to start. Many elderly people continue to learn and develop as they age, so you should not be intimidated to have a go.

Hobbies that are fitness related could be of particular benefit, as they can help to maintain your mobility. You could also try crafts that can boost dexterity, such as knitting or drawing.

14. Set Up a TV in Your Care Home Room

Most care homes have a communal space with a television that residents can use. You may want to consider installing one in your new room so that you can have control of the programmes you watch.

This will mean that you can choose to keep up-to-date with any of your favourite shows or even rewatch some old classics. Also, the TV can be left on for some soothing background noise if spending time alone.

15. Create a Memory Box

Finally, ease the move into care by filling a memory box with cherished items from throughout your life. Creating a special place to store these trinkets means you’ll have a point of call when feeling down or in need of a reminder of happy times.

Memory boxes can include objects of significant emotional significance, such as pictures of loved ones, and more general items from the past, like old coins or stamps. This will acknowledge both specific events in your life and points in time.

Further, the creation of the memory box can bond you with staff or loved ones. Select the contents together and talk about each piece’s significance as you do so, turning the process into a bonding activity.

And that concludes Lottie’s guide to making a cosy care room. Starting this period of life can be difficult, but these tips can ease the transition into your new home.

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