It’s no secret that our population is aging. While many of today’s Baby Boomers are not yet at the average age where they move into senior living communities, this forward-looking generation are not your seniors of the past. With age-in-place technology advances growing like never before, designers of senior living communities are upping their game with wellness initiatives, modern food options, and amenity offerings that have made active senior living far more desirable than it was in the past.
The cold, institutional feel of latter-day facilities is on its way out, and positive experiences are in. Per Baker Barrios Architects:
While many retirees still enjoy bingo, senior housing facilities are focusing on creating positive experiences — including excursions to nearby attractions and parks and new, inventive activities. The next generation of retirees want to experience new things and to continue living fulfilling lives. Designers are working to meet those desires by creating spaces that have room for computer related courses or more entertainment options. The idea behind this is giving seniors the ability to not be limited to where they are at, which is something that all designers need to be aware of.
Outdoor living spaces are also important to keep that sense of community among residents. Per Building Design & Construction:
Outdoor spaces should be an integral part of activity programming, even in hot climates. An outdoor theater with lawn chairs, where residents can watch a movie and have dinner and cocktails; a greenhouse with a gardening club; or dining spaces where residents can cook for themselves and host parties—spaces like these enliven the 55+ residential experience.
Much like restaurants are catering to the needs of Baby Boomers who are known to desire a wide variety of entertaining food types, independent living communities are offering culinary options so that seniors do not have to alter their lifestyles because of where they live. Multiple dining options and healthy choices are a must.
With no shortage of awareness of health and wellness, senior living facilities that integrate these features are in demand. Floor plans that encourage mobility are important, as are amenities for socializing and relaxing. Open floor plans can allow for rooms to be multi-purpose. Per M+A Architects:
The focus on wellness has also prompted a focus on spas, salons, touch therapy and therapeutic massage, and diverse outdoor spaces with walking paths, gardens and benches. Yoga is increasingly popular among seniors, and quality gyms and workout studios are in high demand. The best of these feature abundant natural light and are positioned at the front of the building to help convey an active culture—and make a favorable impression among potential residents.