Depending on the community you choose, there may be a broader range of residence options available than you think. As you endeavor to distill a lifetime of possessions into the smaller footprint of a senior living floor plan, keep two things in mind. It can be done. And if done well, you may feel happier and freer than ever before. Here’s how to get started in the right direction.
Most independent living communities offer multiple floor plan options designed for your lifestyle and preferences. For example, at Friendship Village Sunset Hills and Friendship Village Chesterfield in St. Louis, you can find senior independent living floor plans ranging from smaller studios through one- and two-bedroom apartments, on up to two-bedroom villas with more than 1,600 square feet of space and an attached garage.
You’ll want to consider how you’ll use each room and how often. Aside from basics like the bedroom and bathroom, think about whether you need a den or guest room, which room can serve to entertain, and so on. Remember, senior living accommodations are designed for efficiency and convenience. The common spaces within and without the entire community are also designed for resident use and comfort. This may include a library, a business center with desktop computers, reading rooms and more. You may be surprised to find that a smaller personal living space suits you fine.
In most homes, the kitchen is a central gathering place. If your retirement residence is a cottage or villa with lots of square footage, that may still be the case. But in most studio and one-bedroom senior living floor plans, kitchens aren’t designed to accommodate groups, although larger apartments may offer an open-concept kitchen design that does. But remember, if you ‘re no longer doing much cooking yourself, all the usual space needs — countertop area, drawers and cabinet storage, expansive seating — may no longer be necessary.
But if cooking is still important to you, choose a floor plan that lets you enjoy it comfortably. Is there plenty of storage space for spices, kitchen tools and cookware? Is there enough counter space for food prep? Should you size up to a villa floor plan that includes a kitchen island? You may be able to purchase and install a free-standing island if there’s enough room for it.
Do you enjoy entertaining family and friends in your home? You may need more kitchen and living space to do so. Look for an open floor plan so your guests can move and relax comfortably — one that doesn’t cause people to be cut off from each other in another room. And if you intend to have grandkids or guests spend the night, choose a floor plan with an extra bedroom or den. Patios and balconies are also useful floor plan additions when it comes to entertaining.
Another consideration in choosing the right independent living floor plan is its efficient use of space for certain conveniences such as in-residence laundry facilities and spacious walk-in closets. It’s a good idea to make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves to help you narrow your choices.
Consider your current pieces and how they might fit the layout of your new senior living floor plan. You might seriously consider choosing all new furniture. That way, everything will look and feel as if it were chosen to fit this special new space because it was. Take measurements and do a bit of research to find furnishings that fit as close to the full amount of space you have available. Instead of a full console table, for example, look at hallway tables with a slimmer profile for tight spaces. Even something as easy as a wall-mounted shelf in lieu of a side table or above seating areas can take advantage of unused space and add valuable storage.
Just about any senior living floor plan will require you to scale back your belongings. Even so, having places to neatly store your things will make your new home feel more inviting and make the most of your living space. Pay attention to the number and size of closets, as well as the places you’ll want extra storage space, like the laundry room and kitchen cabinets. Some units may even offer a private storage room off a patio or in the garage, or a storage cubicle in a designated part of the community. You may be able to add storage and eliminate clutter with such items as an armoire or shelving.
If you typically enjoy time out on the patio or deck, you’ll want to look for floor plans that offer a similar experience. Private patios and screened porches are options that let you enjoy natural light and fresh air from the comfort of your home. Your own balcony will give you a private space to enjoy the outdoors. Even if there’s only room for a chair and a small bistro table, it’s a wonderful personal place. You might also grow potted flowers or vegetables, or hang a hummingbird feeder.
Selecting a senior living floor plan that meets all your needs may seem daunting at first, but it’s worth your time and patience to get it right. If you envision taking advantage of your community’s meal services, a smaller kitchen with minimal counter space should serve you quite well. If you’re an avid cook, more space is probably best. Either way, the team at Friendship Village can help. When you’re ready to see floor plan options at our Chesterfield and Sunset Hills communities, just contact us to arrange your personal tour.