CALA recently reached out to our Co-Founder & Lead Designer, Cynthia, to get her perspective on how senior living communities can enhance their dining amenities to strengthen residents’ sense of community, connectivity, and even improve longevity.
In the article, featured on CALA’s “News & Views” print and online magazine, Cynthia examines this topic with research and examples for senior living designers, owners, and operators to consider.
“Some of the key research we referenced is about the strength of human connections, but not just any connection; in this case we’re talking specifically about face-to-face connections,” says Cynthia. “And we know, from almost 30 years of experience in this field, that a great amount of face-to-face interaction happens, or has the opportunity to happen, around food and meals.”
Some key recommendations summarized in the article are:
- Firstly, understand the importance of encouraging residents’ in-person interactions
- Recognize that the unique needs of seniors calls for specialized design and function
- Remove any obstacles from design or programming that may prevent a resident from participating in dining opportunities (such as dining rooms that are far from elevators, are challenging to navigate, have uncomfortable furniture or have an unappealing atmosphere, to name a few).
- Include a variation of seating arrangements in a way that feels natural and familiar
- Provide unique experiences
- Offer quick, casual dining options
“There are some exciting changes happening in our industry today, especially with the growing inclusion of technology in many senior living communities – but nothing beats out the importance of face-to-face human connections,” says Cynthia. “Humans have always bonded over shared meals, so it’s a natural opportunity for communities to utilize.”
Thank you, CALA, for approaching Warner Design Associates about this important topic! We hope it will provide some helpful information in our industry.