As the elderly population continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important for senior living residences to provide more than just necessary care and assistance. Interior designers are now elevating their design strategies to create luxury destinations for seniors, their visitors and locals to enjoy and feel comfortable in.
As the Baby Boomer generation enters their retirement years their influence on the designs of senior living residences is already felt. Where senior living residences were once isolated oft-ignored facilities for older adults to live, we now see a shift to luxury resort style living which offer a wide range of amenities and services to their residents. Let's explore what all this means for Interiors!
One of the primary tools for achieving a luxury feel in senior residences is through the use of high-quality materials. This can include natural wood finishes, plush fabrics, and stone surfaces. Not only do these materials have a high-end look and feel but they are also durable and long-lasting.
Seniors nowadays are more tech-savvy than those that came before them. Incorporating devices such as voice-activated lights, smart thermostats, and automated window treatments are a few ways designers are improving the senior living experience.
Additionally, designers can incorporate technology into the amenities offered: individual spaces for games, movies, live-streamed events, recording booths for podcast or music, to name a few.
Well-being is at the top of the list when it comes to designing senior living residences, but only recently has there been the push to place more emphasis on innovative interior design that is supportive and stimulating not only physically but also mentally.
The mental health crisis in senior living residences has encouraged developers, architects, and designers alike to incorporate areas dedicated to wellness. For residents, this means creating spaces such as yoga rooms, maker spaces, biophilic features, games rooms, socialising with the outside community etc., and for the caregivers, this means including staff-only spaces such as lounges, kitchens, and wellness rooms, a trend already seen in workplace design.
The power of green
The health benefits of nature are known to all; improved moods, increased concentration, lower stress levels, shorter recovery times, and overall happier people. Gardens, outdoor seating areas, and walking paths can provide a peaceful retreat for residents to relax and enjoy nature, but they are not always accessible all year round.
Enter, Biophilic design. Biophilic design connects humans to nature within the built environment by incorporating elements such as green spaces, living walls, horticulture rooms, and large windows in an effort to reap the benefits nature has on occupant health.
The new age
The evolution of senior residences continues; developers and designers are starting to recognize the importance of providing amenities and services allowing residents, their visitors and the community (for a fee) the freedom to explore, confer, and connect with one another.
In clear rebuttal against the dark, poorly-planned, under-designed nursing homes of the past, newly designed senior living residences are taking a few lessons from hospitality and incorporating theatres, spas, gyms, and swimming pools, grocery stores, cafes, and restaurants open to use by residents, their visitors and for a fee opening it up to the community, creating a sense of home (whilst also increasing revenue).
One of the most important aspects of any visit is dining. Senior living residences can and should offer dining options for guests and the community not limited to bars, formal dining rooms or casual cafes where everyone can enjoy full-service meals or grab a quick bite or drink, private dining areas for family gatherings is still a must, or baker's kitchens to gather the family and teach them how to make Grandma's famous Pecan Pie.
Many senior living residences have fitness centers, pools, or exercise classes available to their residents. Why not extend these amenities to visiting guests and charge a membership fee for locals as well? This can include yoga or other exercise classes access to gym equipment and more.
Senior living residences often provide beauty and barber services to their residents. Guests can also take advantage of these services during their visit. Whether it’s a haircut, manicure or a massage, these services can make a visit feel extra special.
Senior living residences often host community events such as holiday parties, cultural events, movie nights, and more. By opening this to the locals these events can create a sense of belonging and help residences feel more connected to their community.
Ultimately, the goal of designing senior living residences with understanding and intent is set out to improve the lives of those who occupy the space, those who visit and the community. Study shows a mixed use/age environment increases seniors physical activity, cognitive function, increases sense of purpose and without a doubt enhances emotional well being. By incorporating these amenities (also revenue) and various design strategies. Senior residences can become luxurious destinations not only for their residents but for visitors of all ages.