By Alex Ciorogar
Designing boutique and upscale communities for seniors and their baby boomer family members has been at the forefront of design considerations, but employee retention has recently become a new focus. Communities are now looking at ways they can cater to their employees’ needs in ways which result in increased efficiency and job satisfaction. Not only do operators want employees to feel comfortable while doing their job, they want them to feel valued as team members providing valuable care to residents. StudioSIX5 designers are helping senior living communities stay ahead of the game. The company forecasts a synopsis of the trends from which the industry can form, blossom and take over in 2018.
While integrated technology has already become the norm, the company further anticipates that the new year will bring about a much more heavier focus on building scalable tech capabilities into community infrastructures. LED lighting is being used beyond for just saving energy: for instance, to promote healthy sleep patterns and reduce anxiety by aligning lamp color temperature with residents’ circadian rhythms.
On the other hand, consumer demand is causing manufacturers to embrace senior living requirements when designing products, materials and furnishings. This rise in availability and variety will bring about more aesthetically-pleasing, functional products and furnishings for senior living. Luxe environments are moving beyond an understated elegance toward designs, featuring jewel tones, mixed metals and lush fabrics, allowing designers to create opulent custom pieces tailored to meet the needs of seniors. Providers are also encouraged to include accent pieces and décor with local flavor, creating a sense of history and pride within a space, simply because mass-produced items have less character and feel less personal.
The boom of building more urban communities in 2017 has created a push to integrate senior living communities into master-planned, where amenities like salons, dining areas and fitness centers are public-facing to encourage increased socialization with the community at large. Spaces with multiple uses and flexibility are still popular, but instead of having an area deemed as the “multi-purpose room,” providers are now looking at amenities that they can combine to serve a variety of purposes. For example, instead of having both a library and a coffee shop, they are combining the two. Creating opportunities for purposeful engagement in programming and operations, rather than simply providing activities, encourages residents to participate in actual daily activities like meal prep, laundry or gardening.
“This past year has been an exciting whirlwind of positive change, with advances in technology, shifts in mindsets of the customers and opportunities to create a variety of experiences within spaces,” said Dean Maddalena, president of studioSIX5, in a prepared statement. “Vibrant interiors increase marketability and improve occupancy rates for senior living communities. We exercise creative freedom to ensure communities have innovation, cutting-edge design and an ability to compete in the marketplace, but also stand up to the test of time. As change agents, our goal is to ultimately create interiors that celebrate life and positively impact residents and their families.”
Back in August, 2017, Dean Maddalena explained the benefits of providing senior living communities with the latest technological devices.
Photos courtesy of studioSIX5