For the first time in history, more people aged over 65 in 2018 than there were children under the age of five. The United Nations’ World Population Prospects report estimates that one in six people in the world will be above 65 years by 2050, which is a short 19 years from now.
The U.S. Census Bureau shows 54 million seniors in 2019 from 40.3 million people aged over 65 in 2010.
But picture this:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown since 2008 that over 77% of older Americans battle at least two chronic conditions.
The conditions include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and cancer.
All that means one thing: there is already a vast need to provide more and better assisted living communities.
Decades ago, pale senior living communities were the norm. But the industry is changing from that clinical setting to a homely environment.
What do you need to know how to design the best assisted living community for modern seniors and times?
Here are tips from an expert at Mathew Griffin Living, an award-winning real estate company specializing in innovative senior living communities.
- Focus on Natural Lighting
Senior citizens are prone to anxiety and mental distress.
Exposure to natural light helps improve a person’s natural circadian rhythm, the internal body clock. That helps improve sleep patterns.
Healthy sleeping habits can help improve social relations, boost their appetite, and reduce feelings of depression.
Also, the natural vitamin D from sunlight can help strengthen your community members’ delicate bones, muscles, and skin.
Yet, you want to have windows that protect your seniors from sunburns and skin cancer.
- Design for Social Inclusivity
Seniors have decades of life behind them. That means they have a lot to look back on and share their life’s adventures.
But traditional nursing homes isolate members, which makes them gloomy and lonely places.Yet that environmentis unsafe for seniors’ mental health. The old nursing homes made people feel abandoned and neglected.
A good assisted living home provides plenty of interaction areas, both indoors and outdoors.
Some communal areas include the kitchen, dining rooms, lounge, and parks.
- Optimize the Space
Senior citizens need a balanced space. Large areas tend to be noisy and frightening, while small spaces limit movement and social interactions.
However, every square per meter matters to a developer.
You can optimize the spaces using smart technologies such as smart glass.
The glass is dynamicand can appear transparent, translucent, or opaque.So, your space can change from an open to a private area, depending on your preference.
- Plan for a Flowing Assisted Living Community
You do not want to burden older citizens withwalking long distances to access amenities such as shops andgrocery stores.
Instead, plan your community in a way that reflects the type of modern living seniors have near you. Your design will be something they are already used to.
For instance,use a flowing, contemporary assisted living home community.
Ensure that communal areas and other amenities are easily accessible as well.
- Plans Should Allow for Activities
Activities are a natural mood lifter and keep the body physically fit.
So, design your community spaces such as kitchens, garages, tennis courts, and art galleries. That will help encourage more supervised activities.
Keeping active is also powerful in helping people get together, plan, get active, and accomplish something special. Those are all benefits you want to gift your community’s senior members.
- Plan for Special Rooms
Traditional designs do not cater to special needs, such as sauna, massage, andpsychiatric therapy rooms.
However, these places foster social interactions and encourage residents to visit each other. Remember to keep health and safety guidelines in mind for such rooms.
- Keep Safety in Mind
Safety comes first. And the elderly have various safety needs.
Generally, the floors should be non-slip and passagewaysclear.
Your community should also have well-placed windbreakers, green areas, and strategic spots to soak up some sun.
Also, consider enclosures and close monitoringfor dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. You do not want them to wander off into unsafe areas.
A modern assisted living community goes beyond the medical care of a nursing home.
It is a place for people that have taken care of others for most of their life. They deserve the care and safety of an ideal home for when they get to an age where they need help to carry on.
The seven assisted living community designs can help you start somewhere compassionate.