Senior Living

Senior Living (2)

So we're aware of the prediction that self-driving cars will change the delivery industry, from delivery of mundane packages, to groceries, to delivery of pharmacy prescriptions. How does this affect seniors? In retirement, there will be less and less reason to leave their homes. Virtually everything can and will be dropped at their door; except for family and friends.

With the downturn in occupancy of retirement communities, we can see that if all supplies and staples needed for existence can be delivered, then why would a grandfather of 80 years want to move into a facility? The answer falls into the category of socialization and the need for interaction with people.
 
That is why grandpa feels good about a move into a community of individuals with similar needs. He wants to entertain his friends and family. He still helps his grandchildren with their homework some afternoons, but he is not lonely.

Loneliness and isolation is a very prominant and real precipice for poor mental health. By joining a group of people who live and dine together, our elders have interactions and stimulating conversations that are healthy and worthwhile.

This is why these communities exist.

ScreenHunter 529 Apr 22 1618

 

Do you plan to change how you live and what you enjoy when you turn "senior"? Will you give up being a foodie and your love of wine? Of course not. You will be the same person you are today with multiple interests and enjoyments with more time to focus on your bucket list! Keep that in mind when designing for senior living environments. The correct term for these facilities is now "Life Plan Communities". I like it. It no longer labels the population as senior, therefore, aged and done. It means that the PLAN is to keep on living your best life.

The residents' best life might be different than you assume. As designers, we need to ask the right questions and get to know the community. By that, I mean the physical location of the community as well as the minds of residents within the community. Get to know everyone. Programming is not about asking the director and designated project team for information, it's going directly to the source. Ask Mrs. Johnson what her expectations are for amenities for herself and her extended family. Her children and grandchildren visit often and she would like to have quiet and active time with all of them. After all, she is the star of the visit. The designer and architectural group needs to support her needs to satisfy her and her family.

Mrs. Johnson wants to push her grandaughter on a swing and play a board game with her grandson. We owe it to her to provide a place to do that. She wants choices in the food venue and take her family to lunch, so we need to know that as well. Let's make sure we listen and accommodate all her needs.

When I walk into a facility and all is quiet, I am concerned. On the other hand, when I enter and hear laughter and chatter, I know I am in a good place. I am certain that the design team listened to the number one user group, the resident, and provided what they asked. You can FEEL the joy and celebrate living life with Mrs. Johnson and all her friends.

ScreenHunter 531 Apr 22 1625