Thousands of boomers are turning 65 daily, so the demographics are looking favorable on the senior housing market. Many aging seniors will live in their own home or in someone else’s. But up to 8% will choose senior living for their housing needs, which creates increased demand. Property managers, as well as both large and small business owners, may wisely choose to accommodate this increased need.
When it comes to senior housing, the options are diverse and categorized into the specific level of care needed, creating the opportunity for seniors to maintain as much independence as possible as they age. Decades ago, the primary senior housing was simply a “cookie cutter” nursing home with fully staffed nursing, rehabilitation services, activities staff, a chaplain, and a large community dining room which provided three hot meals a day and a space for large seasonal parties.
Today, there are more options:
- Senior Apartments
- Independent Living
- Assisted Living
- Nursing Home
- Continuous Care Retirement Communities
Assisted Living Communities—A Popular Option for Seniors
When it comes to designing new assisted living communities, it’s vital to include distinctive elements to set yours apart from the competition. A well-designed assisted living community with an optimal location and expert operations will succeed in today’s market.
Gather data with online surveys and individual interviews to help gain insight on the needs and desires for the assisted living of potential residents.
Keep the need for building maintenance and its impact on long-term operations, and needs of residents and their visitors in the forefront, particularly during the planning stage of the design-build process.
Plan to Offer Unique Services
What added services or amenities can you incorporate into your build that will set you apart from your competition and thrill the residents and their families?
Here are tips on building an assisted living community:
1. Realize location can make all the difference
Many seniors today value wellness and want to keep fit mentally and physically. They also enjoy social interaction in modern gathering places that foster a warm, uplifting atmosphere.
- Proximity to a learning environment such as a local community college, a university, or a community center all offer variety and mental stimulation to seniors—aiding their ability to stay as fit as possible in brain health.
- Proximity to a fitness center that offers “Silver Sneakers” classes or yoga classes are attractive features for conscientious seniors who want to maintain their physical health as they age.
- Proximity to popular restaurants also strike a happy note in today’s seniors who want to engage in social interaction and stay up-to-date on their relationships.
2. Design unique amenities
Consider surveying your potential residents and discover the unique amenities the majority of them appreciate in an assisted living community. The amenities may be culturally specific, or cater to the retirees in the area (like California did by offering the many retired TV and film industry professionals a studio in-house where residents make their own independent films). Think outside the box and conduct specific surveys to get the up-to-date results for the area in which you desire to build an assisted living community.
3. Create options when it comes to eating
When designing an assisted living facility, include spaces in which seniors can eat as a community as well as other options for meals: a community kitchen could be made available on each wing of the assisted living community where residents cook their own meals and gather small groups of their family or friends to enjoy a meal together. Other options include a mini kitchen in each resident’s suite for their personal enjoyment between meals that are provided in the large dining area.
4. Provide memory care services
Consider creating an area within the assisted living facility for memory care services. Dementia and Alzheimer residents require specific safety features to protect them from wandering off. Staffing trained in specific memory care skills will help the residents live life to its fullest while providing the safety, security, and specific features to their environment they need to function at their best with the least amount of agitation. For example, residents in need of memory care desire direct access to the outdoors, but for their safety, it works best to create a courtyard that is protected and enclosed.
5. Connect with the community
There is beauty in the integration of generations. People need other people, and seniors need young people—just as young people need their elders. Ideally, an assisted living community will be located in the heart of a larger community where opportunities abound to get out and embrace a variety of experiences. Concerts, performing arts, lectures, mall shopping, art classes, adult learning, and more can be part of the package when an assisted living community integrates with the community that surrounds it. In contrast, if an assisted living community isn’t built where the seniors can easily get to others in the community, bring the community to them!
6. Acclimate supplementary services
Designing space for a short-term rehabilitation service within the assisted living community will attract residents because there is always the possibility that they may need those services, and to have access to them in-house is a good drawing point. They could even lease out the space to physical therapy providers and then make their services available to residents as well as the community.
7. Activities, hobbies, and recreation matter to today’s seniors
Design should include warm and inviting spaces in which seniors can enjoy activities and hobbies together. A woodshop or a “garage” space may be a favorite for the men. An arts and crafts space may draw the women. And a common social area may be perfect for card games and smaller social gatherings. Multipurpose spaces with removable chairs and tables are a versatile option to consider.
Ready to Move Forward with Retirement Center Construction?
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Throughout the design-build process the architect and builder coordinate, minimizing mistakes and subsequent costly change orders. See our commercial construction services and call Construction by Daniels. We’ll answer all your questions and create the optimal plan to reach your construction goals.