A holiday pumpkin in a assisted living home

Fall Décor Ideas in Assisted Living

The holiday season is here. Don’t let your assisted living apartment feel cold and uninviting. Get cozy with these charming décor ideas.

Placemats & Centerpieces

If you have a smaller table in your assisted living apartment, then don’t be afraid to mix and match the placemat colors. Use variations of yellows, oranges, reds, and browns. You can also create amazing centerpieces with pomegranates and decorative pumpkins.

Orange Accents

Nothing says fall more than orange blanket and pillow accents. To create an autumn mood, purchase a throw blanket or pillow that mimics the color of foliage in fall. Choose one that is cozy as well. The weather may be chilly so stay warm in style. It can also be used for general décor since the color orange creates a sense of warmth, making the space feel more inviting.

Lighting

To reduce the hazard of tripping, buy battery-powered candles that can be placed in plastic pumpkin holders. If you are wanting to replace any of the lighting in your apartment, opt for warm white or orange glow lights that can still offer high visibility at night.

Simple Pictures

Sometimes more simplistic décor is all you will want to create an autumn ambiance. Because the leaves are falling all over, if you find a beautifully colored one, place it on a piece of white paper and frame it for a clean seasonal look.

Chalkboard Recipes

Craft stores have gotten clever for fall décor this year. You can find several chalkboard frame variations that has either leaves, pumpkins, or some other kind of fall aesthetic on them. Write down your favorite pumpkin pie recipe or little holiday family reminders. The chalkboard will also aid in memory recall for seniors needing memory care services.

Grandchildren Crafts

We all know that the little ones are given fall crafts to make during school. These made-with-heart craft projects are perfect for fall decorations in a senior assisted living facility. It becomes even better when there is a photo attached to really bring in a sense of family. Create a magnet out of the craft, or frame it on your side table, for a small autumn boost.

Sentimental Value

Some assisted living apartments are smaller than the house or apartment a senior was in before transitioning. So, for family members, it can be very special for you to bring in décor from your own home or décor from their home that they’ve put away when moving. A lot of the time most holiday decorations are put in a box never to be found again. By taking the time to dig through your garage, you may find memorable decorations that would bring value to the assisted living apartment your loved one is in.

Before You Go

Before going to Hobby Lobby or Michaels be sure to check the guidelines of your assisted living center. Some décor may not be up to code, or just pose a hazard to the facility. Keep in mind physical capabilities, and health too. Enjoy this season and be sure to surround yourself with family and friends. The holidays are meant to be celebrated, so whether you want to do one of the above or many of the above, choose décor options that will make the apartment feel more like home.

An Elderly couple looking out at the ocean

Identifying and Managing Anxiety

While initial discomfort in senior living may be overcome by simply personalizing private spaces and nesting in the environment, prolonged discomfort may be a result of preexisting or newly developed anxieties. This is not to say that the growing pains of transitioning into a senior living community or occasional anxiety upon socializing is an extension of some greater problem. However, in order to accommodate for known and unknown needs of residents, keeping an eye out for previously overlooked or dismissed concerns makes senior living such a uniquely helpful tool for the senior community.

Anxiety comes and goes but it also looks and feels different for everyone. Recognizing when your friends, your peers, your family, or even you, yourself, are tackling stress and anxiety is a big, first step in the right direction. While management of these feelings may introduce unexpected challenges, having an appreciation for the awareness and consciousness of them has a huge positive impact on quality of life – diagnosed condition or not. Below we have listed common representations of anxiety in the senior community ranging from infrequent to diagnosed conditions

Anxiety Conditions

Phobias

A phobia is considered a heightened, irrational fear of a place, item, or event which would otherwise not be threatening. Specific but typical phobias for seniors include: death, disaster, dentistry, elongated travel (time or distance), public spaces and heights.

Social Anxiety

This form of anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways. Extreme self-consciousness, overwhelm, fear or perception of judgment, fear or perception of embarrassment are all examples of social anxieties.
Residents managing dementia conditions often experience social anxieties as a result. Sensitivity and management practices are a invaluable in memory care residences because of the nature of those respective memory conditions and related conditions like social anxiety.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is  linked to a specific traumatic event or experience that provoked a physical threat or the perception thereof. Expressions of PTSD may take month or even years to present publicly or even consciously for the individual.
In the senior population, PTSD is often triggered by newly developed disabilities or similar contemporary representations of the previous threat and/or trauma.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Where the preceding expressions of anxiety are often pinpointed to specific experiences, generalized anxiety disorder is manifested through enduring worry, upset, or feelings of threat. Symptoms that are common to older individuals can include: fatigue, head/chest pains, muscular tension, twitching, hot flashes as well as difficulty relaxing, resting, and concentrating.

Co-Occurring Symptoms

While not an explicit form of anxiety, co-occurring symptoms are often common for individuals managing their anxiety. The variation between depression and anxiety can often be difficult to discern but research has shown that these two conditions, especially, occur concurrently. There are also researchers upholding claims that certain neuropsychiatric conditions – like anxiety – are instinctive to dementia.

 

Keeping an eye out for co-occurring symptoms is another primary function for assisted living staff and other senior living communities. Understanding you or your family member’s conditions and overall needs is crucial to their experience not only as someone managing mental health but as an individual.

Note that this is a brief overview of anxiety behaviors and conditions. If you would like to learn more, the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry offers many resources, especially on anxiety. However, if you are feeling regular or constant anxiety, please reach out to a staff member (for those living in a senior community) or meet with your health care provider for a mental health referral. Remember, there are professionals that are equipped and eager to aid in your management of these and other complex experiences. Maintaining an awareness and understanding of mental health is of utmost importance for senior living in private and social experiences.