Designing for the Care Continuum: Adaptive Re-Use of Existing Senior Living Real Estate

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As architects specializing in senior living, we increasingly hear from eldercare housing providers that are looking to convert units in existing facilities into spaces that provide specialized support and care.

Most common is the desire to transform independent or assisted living apartments into ones that offer memory support or dementia care. Occasionally, the goal is to turn previously underutilized areas within a senior housing community to areas that offer more specialized care.

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Designing for the Care Continuum: Adaptive Re-Use of Existing Senior Living Real Estate

  1. 1. Vendome Group Presents… Designing for the Care Continuum: Adaptive Re-Use of Existing Senior Living Real Estate by James T. Moyer, AIA, LEED AP, Principal of SAS Architects & Planners © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Designing for the Care Continuum As architects specializing in senior living, we increasingly hear from eldercare housing providers that are looking to convert units in existing facilities into spaces that provide specialized support and care. Most common is the desire to transform independent or assisted living apartments into ones that offer memory support or dementia care. Occasionally, the goal is to turn previously underutilized areas within a senior housing community to areas that offer more specialized care. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Design Considerations Depending on a building’s age and configuration, converting existing senior living real estate involves certain design considerations. Following are issues frequently encountered… © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Challenge #1: Creating Public Spaces in the Right Configuration In particular, memory support and dementia care requires common spaces or “neighborhoods” that will entice individuals to leave their individual apartments and socialize with other residents and staff. These common spaces often include group activity, living, dining and therapy areas. Access to an outside garden or terrace also is desirable and therapeutic for the residents. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Challenge #1: Creating Public Spaces in the Right Configuration (continued) To develop these, we typically must creatively deal with factors such as the building’s footprint, circulation, space adjacencies, natural light, views and outside access, as well as infrastructure obstacles such as vertical plumbing/mechanical risers and the building’s structure itself. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  6. 6. Challenge #2: Maximizing Space Many older buildings have inefficient interior floor space with long corridors and groups of apartments on either side. We frequently find opportunities for usable space in the building’s corners or intersections that can be adapted to meet the needs of the resident and the level of care to be provided. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Challenge #2: Maximizing Space (continued) For example, a typical one bedroom independent or assisted living apartment contains a lot of wasted space for a resident with dementia, including a kitchen that would actually make the unit unsafe for them to occupy. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Challenge #3: Overcoming a Long, Double-Loaded Corridor Redesigning dead-end corridors with circulation loops and destination points (seating alcoves, reading/desk areas) breaks up the long visual length of the corridor, and enlivens the neighborhood environment. The new design also encourages residents to explore the area and interact with others, bringing many therapeutic benefits. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Challenge #4: Creating a Functional, Safe and Secure Progression of Space Depending on the level of care, a neighborhood concept requires a secure progression of space (from public to private) from the entry to the common neighborhood areas and eventually to the private resident apartment. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  10. 10. Challenge #4: Creating a Functional, Safe and Secure Progression of Space (continued) Entry should be to a secure supervised area–not into an apartment corridor. Room relationships and service areas are important. For example, we try to create transitions from a secured entry to a supervised dining, living and activity space. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  11. 11. Summary The senior care industry is continually evolving. Whether created through conversion or new construction, senior living facilities with simple and logically placed infrastructure provide owners and residents with the flexibility to meet the aging population’s changing demands. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Mark Your Calendars for the 2014 Environments for Aging Conference The Environments for Aging Conference offers the latest strategies and ideas for creating attractive and functional living environments that meet the needs of our aging population. During this comprehensive three-day learning experience, attendees network with peers while learning the latest innovations and best practices in the design of long-term and residential care settings. © 2014 Vendome Group, LLC All rights reserved.

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