Why Your Senior Living Community’s Interior Design Isn’t Cutting It
Posted on April 6, 2018 by Cynthia Warner
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you are either unsatisfied with your senior living community’s interior design, thinking that it might have room for some improvement, or wondering if it is up to par with others in the industry.
At Warner Design Associates, we’re an interior design firm specializing in senior living for the past 25+ years, becoming very familiar with what makes a successfully designed community. If you sense that your senior living community’s interior design is not as strong as you’d like it to be, see what may be holding you back, and how to make improvements in your community below.
A common misconception is that interior design is about how a room or building looks. In fact, it’s equally about how a space functions. For example, consider a room that is designed with furniture placed too close together for non-ambulatory guests to safely and easily maneuver. Or a community with amenity areas spaced too far apart in the building that it becomes tiresome for residents to move from one to another, resulting in them declining to participate in activities.
Designing for senior living communities, whether they are independent living, assisted living, memory care or others, comes with special consideration to function and safety that may not apply to other design projects.
Needless-to-say, if the function and safety of your senior living interior design has not been considered with utmost care, it may be impacting the quality of life of your residents. Not to mention, it can also impact caregiver’s job performance and satisfaction as well! If the design of the community also impedes the staff or caregivers ability to move about the community and perform their job efficiently – that can equally impact them and the residents.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The old adage is just as important in the interior design of your senior living community! Do your entryway and lobby areas feel welcome and comfortable, and inspire feelings of trust and security? If not, your design might not be cutting it. The entryway and lobby area are the first thing prospective residents and their family members will see, along with others in the local community.
Hire a senior living interior designer who knows how to make your first impression a great one to residents, family members, staff, and the community at large.
Should your design be for your residents? Absolutely! But it should also keep in mind the needs and desires of others who will be spending time in your senior living community building(s), such as staff and guests. “Staff should feel supported and comfortable in their work environment,” according to an Environments for Aging design report. This means comfortable and engaging break rooms where staff can relax in comfortable seating, or re-energize with food and activities. It also means designing a building that provides an efficient flow in their workday moving throughout the community (as mentioned in #1).
Do you have areas for guests to comfortably await the residents they are meeting? Or dining options for guests and residents to grab a bite to eat in a casual bistro, or a nicer, private dining area for intimate meals? These are all design considerations that make guests feel more welcome and comfortable at your senior living community.
Designing for senior living is a very niche expertise – something that many firms or designers may not have. It takes a team that understands the unique needs of seniors, their families, the staff, and how a successful senior living community functions as a whole. Without that knowledge and intrinsic understanding, it’s easy to overlook “small” things that become big things to those who live or work there every day. It’s also possible to overlook things that may negatively impact the health and safety of your residents, which is of greatest concern. To ensure your design fits your community, be sure to hire a senior living design firm that is an expert in the industry.
Like anything else, trends change over time. Does your senior living community’s interior design reflect modern trends and preferences? This can include your color schemes, artwork, flooring, fixtures, finishes, furniture and more. Today’s seniors are looking for an environment that has a home-like yet resort feel, and communities are adapting to these desires. Is your community changing with the times?
Ready to improve your senior living community’s interior design?
If you would like to speak with Warner Design Associates about your senior living community design, please reach out! We’d love to start a conversation about how we may help you address any design questions.