Support Wellness In Your Designs with These Tips
From floor to ceiling, there are simple ways to suggest getting your aging-in-place clients’ homes ready for re-emergence into the world following the COVID-19 pandemic.
by Mary Shannon
For more than a year now, Americans have been sequestered as much as possible in their homes, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying safe has meant staying inside, so our homes are a little more lived-in now than perhaps they were before the second quarter of 2020.
Keep in mind, however, that global aging statistics indicate that by 2050, 65 nations are expected to have a population where people aged over 60 constitute 30 percent of their population. In the U.S., the number of older adults is expected to more than double over the next 25 years, creating a demographic status that is unprecedented in the history of the United States. There are environmental implciations of aging in place, and designers are the key to the puzzle.
When you are ready to re-emerge, here are a few suggestions from one senior to the design community.
Follow the trends
Some of the biggest trends in 2020 for home design centered around creating a sanctuary to support wellness while indoors. Even before the pandemic hit, there was a growing trend for softer colors and a more soothing atmosphere. In 2021, however, experts are saying a nostalgic flair might be more appealing as we yearn for different times and to celebrate our independence in this decidedly weird year. What does that mean for your senior clients?
It could mean repurposing antique furniture, acquiring vintage dish sets, adding a mirror, or painting with more natural tones — things that evoke sentiments of the past. Whatever modifications you suggest and recommend to your clients’ homes, make sure to track any improvements as certain enhancements may boost the home’s value.
Invest in new lighting
Designers know that a great way to spruce up a space is to consider new lighting fixtures or bulbs. In 2020, people became more aware of how much — or how little — light gets into their spaces. Moving forward, we should rectify a lack of light where we see it. Create industrial lighting strips, invest in smart bulbs, or rethink the lighting placement in a living room. No matter what you do, it should be with the goal of bringing comfortable light into dark areas. Updating fixtures is also a great way to draw attention to whatever your customer might be focusing on as the main aesthetic; it demonstrates what’s best about being a designer: the relationship of everything in the room!
One of the trends for 2020, according to some designers, was floral wallpaper. In 2021, no matter whether or not that trend continues, this kind of design might be just what your client needs. If that sounds interesting or if you think you may want to consider adding florals to an aesthetic, wallpaper could be the way to go. Wallpaper can make spaces more attractive — while leaving cash in a budget, as it’s an affordable design element. Adhesive-based wallpaper, in particular, can be easily applied, removed, and repositioned, depending on the need.
Alternatively, consider adding a fresh coat of paint to any room (even if it’s the same color as before!) to make sure that any scuff marks or dirty spots won’t show up. If your design calls for a color shift, consider using light colors to showcase the new light you are bringing into the space.
…remember you are the expert! Whether you are involved in the entire redesign of a home or simply freshing up the aesthetic, working with yuou as the experienced designer can bring a new perspective to a project especially when you deal with the aging-in-place!
By the way, the inspiration behind SeniorsMeet, our website, came about when my husband I and started it was to have a website that allows seniors to “meet up” and talk about topics that are relevant to their daily lives. We’re married, in our late 60s, and just starting to realize we’re entering the years where we’re less concerned about being hip than we are about breaking a hip. (Seriously, it’s our biggest fear.) Being in the stage of life where we’re starting to slow down has made us realize how important it is to have a supportive community of like-minded seniors.
So to all interested designers. I would liketo invite each of you to participate in our efforts of gaining knowledge about aging in place! Just visit our website, Seniors Meet, and fill out the contact form. We’d love to hear your ideas! Thank you.