Dare to be different, Innovative Approaches to Senior Living Design

Innovative Approaches to Senior living Design brings up 4,370,00 results on Google. Mainly from care providers. The marketing word of the day seems to be “innovative”. So what does this really mean to senior living?

1. Technology - Paperless Charting and tele medicine, Motions sensors, reading to Voice and vice versa, sensors for leaving the fridge open, cooktop on etc. personalized medication dispension & Senior Friendly computers are but a few that integrate technology seamlessly in senior living. Senior Living will truly be the first mass "Smart Homes".

2. True aging in place, shored up by home health care & Mini-Labs - It is fairly common at the local Shoppers Drug Mart, CVS or Walgreens to be able to have your BP taken while waiting for your prescriptions to be pulled. Mini clinics are also popping up in these locations and the big box stores. In the shelving displays you can buy without a prescription blood pressure monitoring, blood sugar testing, respiratory equipment, urinalysis, drug testing and cholesterol testing to name just a few of the home health testing aides. Seniors are used to managing these tools on a daily basis and there should be no slowdown of the Home lab when it comes to senior living. We would anticipate that Senior Living providers would engage to capture this testing more on a self-monitoring level not only to ensure the best outcomes for a resident but also to capture revenue as part of wellness programs. While most Assisted Livings have a med room, few have actual labs. The future of healthcare revolves around feedback testing and gathering information to tweak care plans for the best possible results.

3. Choice Dining - Besides technology and Home Health Testing, Choice Dining is the number one innovation that is taking place in Senior living. Offering various dining options from pubs, bistros, cafes, formal dining to in room options. Dining is becoming more of a performance. To understand this need, one only needs to look to the popularity of the Food Network. Restaurant Style means more than ordering off of a menu. It’s eating when you like and having food good enough that an outsider would want to dine there. To that extent catering and credit card purchases are highly encouraged for staff and guests. Having a reputation of the best food in town goes a long way in marketing your senior living and increasing quality of life. As one highly successful white table cloth restaurant chain says “to eat well, is to live well”

4. Short-term Rehab - Focused on Fitness and Rehabilitation. Senior Living games have always been a large part of seniors Daily living activity whether it be cards, bingo or board games. Friends would gather together weekly and enjoy each other's company. The latest craze in senior living is Wii bowling. Many have teams and take this very seriously. Wii fit is also used as a wellness / workout program and in short-term rehab.

5. Eco Friendly buildings & - Bringing the “outside” in - whether it's bringing in more natural light, natural materials or actual plant walls. The movement to intertwine nature into our interior environments is growing stronger. Buildings not only use need to use less energy but also fit well into their natural environment

Understanding which Innovations work best for your culture and will matter the most to the residents will be key to delivering the best senior living options to residents and families.