Interior furniture design trends that are meeting care needs
Increasing care and nursing homes are requesting care interiors that truly design consultation and expertise to create a relaxing and engaging interior that in the past would have been more representative of the style you would expect to find in a hotel.
At the heart of considering new interior treatments is the genuine belief that a positive environment provides those within it with a positive experience.
Shackletons, the Yorkshire based care furniture specialists, have been working within care environments for 50 years. Jason Bloom, national sales manager says: “Certainly there has been a distinct shift within the care sector regarding furniture. Of course we still have fit for purpose considerations to apply but form is becoming just as important as function as the sector considers the needs and wants of their varying customers.”
“The care sector has many forward thinking and dynamic care operators who are certainly nothing like the old stereotyped images many people still have. As the market becomes more competitive and more aware of its customer the need for appealing and creative interior solutions have become majorly important.”
“Cleanability is still a big focus for the sector and we understand this is essential in maintaining a clean and healthy environment, but this doesn’t come at the expense of design. We have spent many years developing a satisfying solution that not only aids carers in their roles but enables residents to live their lives as independently as they can in comfortable and enjoyable surroundings.” Says Jason.
Robust and functional fabrics and design methods are used to meet the needs of the many care providers who demand a product that is a million miles away from the institutionalised look many of us will remember. Intelligent fabrics and innovative designs are developed to meet the standard feature requirements, such as waterproof membranes, stain repellent technology and odour control. Design is applied in a way that considers the physical support the end user may need as well as how individuals’ senses will react – what does it look like, how does it feel.
“There is still an image crisis concerning old age, we cannot assume all residents within a care home are frail, immobile, infirm and incapable of making a decision. The elderly have the same expectations as all of us. They want to socialise, enjoy comfortable surroundings, relax, and be active and independent. The physical and mental ability of residents are always taken into account, we design and manufacture furniture that truly is bespoke without compromising on style, quality and visual appeal.”
In more recent times the company has responded to the growing needs of care operators looking to maintain a better quality of life for residents with dementia. The disease can manifest in many ways and doesn’t automatically mean an immediate lack of senses. However issues around memory loss and communication can become an issue if a care home doesn’t recognise the need for a dementia friendly environment.
“Having dementia doesn’t mean loss of independence or quality of life; but confusion, disorientation, and frustration can result in a lack of quality of life if residents are not accommodated in a way that promotes and enables a dignified and independent way of life.
“Design can help with this. We consult with many operators on this topic. We use colours, choose appropriate fabrics and consider the overall constructed design of our furniture.” Says Jason.
Colours of fabrics help to easily define areas. Colours become cues to help residents distinguish between an activity, dining or living area, and even the toilet. Recognition removes the potential for a resident to become disorientated; it is proven to provide greater independence and a better quality of life.
“Development of furniture for a care environment obviously has very specific and necessary requirements concerning space planning and mobility. Our CAD system allows for efficient design and layout planning. We help our clients visualise how wheelchair users and elderly residents’ mobility can be accommodated as well as improved. Working this way helps care providers consider how compliance and regulations can find a pleasing design fit with end user choices and independence.” Says Jason
It is a fact as we face an aging population the demand for quality care services will increase. Design plays a vital role in achieving that quality. A well designed care environment can and does improve the quality of life of residents. If design can enable an increase in choices, individuals become empowered and more independent which in-turn gives carers’ quality time to spend socially with residents.