In senior living design, as in any architecture or design project, we draw inspiration from the communities we design for.
Psychologists have long been fascinated by findings that show the aging population are among the happiest people in our society, because they prioritize the enjoyment of every moment. Researchers have also linked a sense of purpose in seniors with lower risk of disease, better mobility, and better strength.
These findings tell inspiring stories. By designing for them in your senior housing architecture, you can increase the number of people who refer you by word of mouth and the number of prospects who choose you in their search for an assisted living facility.
As baby boomers enter old age, design trends are shifting. In all senior living markets—from independent living, to assisted living, to nursing homes—they are seeking greater focuses on health & wellness, as well as activities that cultivate community.
With that in mind, let’s examine the three main types of spaces in senior living communities, with the goal of designing long term happiness and purpose in all of them.
A visitor’s first impression comes from your communal areas. Their architectural importance goes beyond a beautiful lobby and dining area, to include a range of environments that enrich the lives of residents.
Activity spaces at senior living facilities might include a greenhouse, a library, a movie room, a salon/spa, and other spaces where communities can gather, special services can be offered, and your facility can stand out.
The next rooms visitors see in your senior housing facility are living residences. Here, seniors can rest, spend personal time, call loved ones on the phone, and host friends and family members. It’s important to offer a balance of practicality and comfort.
Residents’ windows, if made with the materials and a creative design touch, can add immense value to residential apartments. They should be expansive enough to provide plentiful sunlight and fresh air in warmer months, while being well-insulated to provide warmth during winter months.
Other key aspects that will make you stand out are air circulation and mobility, designs that make everyday life easier (especially in the bathroom and kitchen), and smart home technology, as modern seniors become increasingly accustomed with technology each year.
Finally, apartment-style residences are popular today, because providing sufficient space for residents to customize their furniture configuration can add a sense of individuality and make a big difference.
These are often the last spaces considered in assisted living homes, though in some respects they are the most important. Your staff are fundamental in the happiness of residents. By improving their wellbeing, you can reduce turnover and improve the wellbeing of your entire community.
Staff’s needs vary somewhat in different markets. For example, in a nursing home, it helps to have top-of-the-line care facilities to eliminate unnecessary challenges in providing medical services. In all markets, it can be beneficial to invest in staff lounges, kitchens, and even areas where they can take naps or store personal belongings.
From phone receptionists, to nurses, to cooking and maintenance workers, all team members make important impressions on existing and prospective residents. Don’t forget to make a good impression on them.
The Adult Day Center is one of two senior services facilities, designed by SSP, at one centralized location in Somerset County, NJ.
The Center provides nursing care, PT and OT, therapeutic recreation, hot meals, entertainment, support groups, and other meaningful daily activity for seniors. It supports individuals at all levels of ability, including those with dementia and physical disabilities.
SSP took care to incorporate all these capabilities in the building’s architecture. Our overall concept became characterized by warm wood tones, light-colored stone, a gently sloped roof, open space, natural sunlight, and indoor/outdoor gathering spaces.
This balance of aesthetic and practical architecture is now a valued resource for Somerset County’s aging population.
At SSP, we are not only passionate about architecture and design, but we understand the impact that our work has on communities over the course of generations.
We take pride in our senior housing architecture and approach each project as a collaboration, between our expertise in architecture and your expertise on the needs of your community.
We’d love to discuss ideas for your senior living facility, and together create a space where seniors are happy to live and excited to invite their friends and family into the community.
Contact SSP Architects to discuss your senior housing architecture or redesign project. We are senior living architects with the experience to make a difference in your business and in the lives of those you serve. Email email@example.com or reach us by phone at 908-725-7800.