Do you equate senior living facilities with institutions? If so, we don’t blame you. Until the last decade or so, the majority of senior living facilities were just that – especially for the middle- and lower-middle classes. Now, however, design trends are decidedly moving in an upward and positive direction.
5 Trends That Are Shaping Innovative Senior Living Designs
A recent article on bdcnetwork.com shares a long list of design trends shaping contemporary senior living communities. Since this is a particular area of interest here at Leslie Saul & Associates, we have touched on many of these in the past such as creating more multi-generational communities, designing homier atmospheres and providing more hospitality-like amenities.
Here are five more trends we find particularly encouraging.
- Prioritizing individual choice. As the aforementioned trends indicate, seniors and their families are more interested in having individual choices in regards to their environment, community and options. The cookie-cutter model of the past simply doesn’t cut it anymore. A wonderful example of this is the niche retirement communities that are popping up across the United States.
- Ditch the word retirement. Modern “retirees” are hardly retired. Many of them are busier than they’ve ever been before. Retiring from one career opens a world of opportunity for furthering one’s education, seeing the world, trying new hobbies, volunteering and so on. Thus, many senior communities are are “taking the R out of CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community)” and focus on graduated care amenities while simultaneously supporting seniors’ varied interests and activity levels.
- Increasing technological innovations. Increased technological innovations keep seniors safer. From wireless pendants and sensors that alert personnel if a senior falls, to tracking devices that allow memory care patients more freedom to come and go while keeping an eye on their location – all are designed to keep seniors safer without stripping them of their dignity and autonomy.
- Promoting dignity and privacy. Traditional nursing home facilities strip seniors of their privacy and dignity via shared rooms, inaccessible bathrooms that force wheel-chair bound senior to use adult underwear or group showering facilities – all in the name of affordability and efficiency. This trend is changing and modern nursing homes are working hard to incorporate private rooms and baths wherever possible. This includes nursing home facilities that are largely geared towards those whose costs are largely paid for by Medicare so they aren’t just a luxury for the rich.
- Re-purposing old buildings and implementing green design. Many communities are taking older, outdated buildings and turning them into senior living facilities, even when they sit on prime pieces of real estate. In many cases, these buildings were originally used for monastic life and then converted to assist aging members of the monastic community – both monks and nuns. As fewer people choose this type of lifestyle, the buildings are converted to accommodate the secular senior population. Additionally, things like energy-efficiency, sustainable design tenets and indoor air quality are incorporated into these conversions.
Contact LS&A Architecture and Interiors to learn more about designing innovative senior care facilities.