For this month’s blog, we’re diving into a topic that we consider ourselves experts on! We’re discussing why senior living communities require specific furniture and what that furniture should look like.
It’s no secret that our bodies change as we age, yet somehow that fact is often forgotten when it comes to specifying furniture for our seniors. Furniture should be thoughtfully specified so that it works not only for the aging body but also for those in and outside of senior living communities.
So, What Does that Look Like? There are several details that our designers take into consideration when specifying or building custom furniture for our senior living projects, whether they be new build or renovation.
For example, the pitch of the seating options must be perfect! As we age, we sit longer for meals and require more back support, so having the correct pitch is imperative. Similarly, as we age, our skin becomes thinner, so it is important to be mindful of sharp corners on tables, chairs, credenzas etc. and instead opt for smooth and rounded corners on furniture.
At Bestar Hospitality, we are big proponents for mixing soft goods at different scales and proportions in sitting or living rooms. Remember, not all bodies are built the same, so it does not make sense for all seating to be the exact same! For example, some seniors prefer a firmer back support, while others may desire a fully cushioned upholstered back. Want to give the people what they want? Give them options!
Other factors we’re conscious of include chair heights correlating with tabletop heights, ideal seat heights for those with mobility issues, thoughtfully programming sofas and chairs that allow for our seniors with equipment to travel throughout the room safely, and SO much more.
All of these considerations are based on providing a comfortable, practical, AND beautiful space for our seniors to thrive in!
Cleanability and Durability are the Name of the Game From our experience in the senior living, hospitality, and multifamily verticals, we’ve found that senior living communities are not renovated as often as hospitality and multifamily. Knowing this, it makes it that much more important that we specify and build furniture that is sturdy and can stand the test of time AND 24/7 use! This means your senior living communities’ furniture must be easily cleanable and durable!
We have always been fully aware that the cleanability of a piece and its upholstery is key. Because of this, we specify commercial-grade fabrics that are wipeable and bleachable, and we include clean outs in seating, making it easier on caregivers and janitorial staff to clean. We also avoid transitions in pieces and/or materials, as they can cause food, dust, or just day to day grime to get stuck.
As for durability, we are sure to specify furniture frames that can withstand the abuse of walkers, wheelchairs and years of CONSTANT use. However, while senior living furniture needs to be durable, it shouldn’t be heavy. Certain seating can sometimes be cumbersome for seniors or their caregivers to move, so our team must be thoughtful in choosing or designing that furniture that will be sturdy for seniors to use to get up and down but also easy to move to simply sit or stand up. Having mobile furniture also gives staff the opportunity to reconfigure their space, as needed. This does NOT necessarily mean that we should just slap wheels on everything!
If you haven’t noticed by now, Bestar Hospitality is passionate about providing quality furniture for our seniors. Communities will often require large FF&E packages; however, if the budget cannot support both the quantity AND quality pieces that are necessary, Bestar Hospitality will cut quantity first. Of course, we have tons of options for different price points between great vendor partners and our significant buying power, but we don’t believe an unrealistic FF&E budget can be solved by low quality furniture. If we cut the quality and durability of the furniture, it is the staff and residents who suffer, and we can’t have that!
We Want it All, So We’re Building It Ourselves! At Bestar Hospitality, we don’t settle. That’s why we’ve always built custom furniture for the communities we design. We believe it is of the utmost importance that our seniors get something that is beautiful, senior-friendly, cleanable, AND durable. That is why we are designing our very own furniture line! Understanding that not everyone could or had the desire to build custom furniture, Bestar Hospitality began a conversation with renowned furniture manufacturer, Fairfield Chair, to create a line of furniture that is custom fitted to a senior’s needs. Melissa and her team included all of the previously mentioned design details such as appropriate arch support on seating options, cushioned arm rests, customizable casters, classic yet beautiful designs, and much more. We are ecstatic to have led the charge in making it easier for designers and owners alike to provide seniors with both practical and stunning furniture.