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Sunrise teams with HGTV’s Henderson on design tips for seniors

February 13, 2012
by Kevin Kolus
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Sunrise Senior Living has partnered with designer Emily Henderson, host of HGTV’s Secrets From a Stylist, on a campaign to educate its assisted living residents on design and aging, according to a company announcement.

Henderson will educate Sunrise’s residents and their families to design their Sunrise suites in ways “that reflect their interests and personal histories,” the company said.

"A Sunrise principle of service is to celebrate the individuality of every resident and that is exactly what I try to do as a designer," Henderson said in a statement. "When someone walks into your room, it should feel like you."

Henderson released 10 preliminary tips on design for seniors, which included incorporating rounded furniture in resident rooms, choosing warm-toned wall colors for the aging eye and disguising handrails as chair rails.

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As a senior who just vacated a 600 square foot apartment for one- room living, I was stunned to read about this undertaking. I managed to nimbly (but not always politely) dodge other people's uninvited opinions on what to put in my new room, and what to leave out. At least no one presumed to call their input "educating" me. Would a designer march into a real estate sales office and announce she would "educate" the new buyers on what to put in and how to arrange it?

The smaller one's space is, the more urgent it is to eliminate outsiders' influence.

How old are the facility people who okayed this project? How old is the designer?

Seniors are individuals. Not all of us are interested in being surrounded by our personal history. Not all of us benefit from a dose of nostalgia. Each of us has very specific psychological needs including how to and how much personal history.

Some of us feel that our survival depends on moving forward, learning, seeing, reading, looking at surroundings in magazines and books. And then making the decisions we can afford.

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