Designing a Senior Residence focused on nurturing wellness and inspiring quality living involves a holistic approach. One that creates both unique spaces for various mental and physical activities, as well as areas reflective of the comforts of home. Below are some ways in which the Drake + Khan Design team has done so in the design of Astoria Senior Living by Alavida Lifestyles, under construction in Ottawa.
A Communal Green Thumb:
Keeping in mind outdoor gardening is not typically an option in senior living communities, incorporating a horticulture room allows the residents to harvest the benefits of gardening within a limited space. Research shows the positive impact gardening has on mood, lowering the risk of dementia, and overall wellness, not to mention the delicious fresh produce for Nonna's famous Marinara Sauce!
Collaboration As A Source of Expression:
The feeling of accomplishment is a self-esteem lifter. Trying something new can increase confidence and brighten one’s day. Makerspaces, being introduced in a wide variety of settings, including schools and libraries, have shown evidence supporting well-being and a sense of agency. We see no reason seniors can’t take advantage of such amenities. We envision the space as a place where residents can create anything they like, using 3D printers, computers, sewing machines, knitting needles, yarn, and button makers. A place where having fun is encouraged, sharing skills are valued and making mistakes is viewed as an expression of willingness to learn.
One Recipe At A Time:
As designers, we are always passionate about creating collaborative spaces that inspire. The inclusion of a Gourmet Baker’s Kitchen not only functions as a gathering space during scheduled demonstrations, but allows for friends, families and even strangers, to experiment, share recipes, and titillate the senses. Giving the residents the opportunity to invite their families into these communal spaces allows them to make it home truly. From family potlucks to helping with bake sales, to celebrations of life, the Gourmet Baker’s Kitchen provides a spot for private gatherings, designed to feel like home.
For Music Lovers and Friends Alike:
Who doesn’t love to relive great memories brought to life by old records, or play your favourite tunes on a guitar and sing with friends? As designers, we are not lost to the impact music and collaborative space can have on an individual’s physical, social and emotional well-being. The presence of a music room in senior living communities allows residents to connect with one another through an artistic avenue, whilst also aiding cognitive/ physical challenges as well.
Design offers limitless possibilities in the curation of organic and functional spaces. Including a variety of environments within a project is fundamental to the ethos of a community-driven design such as a senior living residence. Introducing moments of collaboration, expression, and multi-functional features within such community spaces allows for a sequential experience; one meant to enhance the needs and wellbeing of those who inhabit it.