When creating a perfect room for an elderly family member, consider a few of the things I have learned over the past year.
Protection – As people age, they have more health issues — many of which involve bodily fluids. Rather than installing a plush, fabric headboard (as we first thought), we used a leather-look vinyl headboard. It looks very nice and adds comfort and style, but it’s easy to clean and care for. Mattress covers are a must. Get a good mattress and keep it in good condition.
Linens – make sure the sheets on your bed are comfortable but very durable. This may cost more initially, but will save in the long run. I bought some very pretty, silky sheets for our guest bedroom, but in less than one year I had to replace them. They had been worn down by frequent washing and shredded due to tough, thick elderly toe nails. Higher thread counts and durable fabrics will avoid this. If you still want some luxury, try adding satin pillowcases while keeping the main sheets a more practical fabric.
Fussiness – Too much just-for-aesthetics stuff tends to be problematic. Taking off and replacing many decorative pillows is making work that is unnecessary. A bedspread or quilt that requires flexibility to place properly can be physically trying. Bed skirts and other excess fabric can cause tripping, make space less accessible, and even add just another place to harbor orders. A room can be decorated simply and still be beautiful.
It’s hard to anticipate what difficulties might arise in an unknown situation, but having an elderly family member move in requires some accommodation and thinking outside the box.