Posted In // Healthcare Design Tips
Special furniture considerations for senior livingThe furniture that is chosen for a senior living center should be both attractive and have a fundamental focus on safety.
You want the furniture in your facility to have durability, good cushioning, and dimensions that make use as simple as possible for those with physical restrictions. Basically you want people to be able to get in and out of seating or be able to access tables regardless if they are unassisted, in a wheelchair, or using a walker.
It’s a good idea to purchase chairs that make it relatively easy for the senior to raise themselves up to standing. Basically that means that the seat should be sufficiently high and have padding that isn’t too soft. If you have benches, make sure that they are equipped with both backrests and armrests.
Fabrics and square tablesFabrics are critical, since you want the furniture to stay looking like-new throughout its lifecycle. You want sustainable textiles that are designed for stain-prevention and are easy to clean, explains Mary E. Turgeon in Health Facilities Management. “To reduce the spread of disease, a moisture barrier should be provided to prevent bodily fluids from penetrating into the furniture assembly,” she says. “For durability, furniture textiles should have a wear surface of at least 90,000 double rubs to increase the lifetime of the fabric.”
Tables for dementia patients should be square rather than round, since structured space is critical to engaging these individuals and making them feel safe. It’s also helpful to have a different color for the edge band of tables for the visually impaired.
Fusing eclectic and modern with traditionalYou know you want your facility to be appealing, but what exactly does that entail? You obviously need everything to be primarily functional, but forgetting the aesthetic can mean you end up with an environment that feels dull and excessively standardized. In other words, don’t discount the eclectic and modern.
“The safest approach is to use what's called ‘transitional’ style, which takes traditional design elements and blends with modern furniture pieces,” says McKnight’s. “Overall, it is the most timeless approach to design and will generally suit any space.”