•Lose the chintz. Ditto the crystal chandeliers and fleur-de-lis wallpaper. Think man cave: deep reds, midnight blues.
•Can the canned music. The Big Band-era music piped into the dining room was “awful,” said my 80-year-old father. “I had a life beyond 1945.” Maybe Bob Dylan, Seal , Leo Kottke. Or silence.
• Create a “sports bar” dining spot. If they can’t offer booze to guys on meds, could they at least set aside a small dining area that looks like a bar? ESPN on large-screen TVs? Baskets of hot wings?
• Nourish the inner bro. Many assisted living facilities have a “game room”; why not make it more like a club? Possible amen-ities: dark wood paneling, a few leather easy chairs, poker tables.
• Remove all art involving pastel sunsets. My dad, a high school art teacher, suggested prints of bold, modern/abstract art classics: Mondrian, Rothko.