The nature of design for senior living should be a mix of inspirational design that dictates aspirational living. Traditionally, designing in this space has always veered towards the healthcare model. Designing for the future in senior living is a culmination of innovative healthcare design together with hotel-inspired and residential design.
Hospitality design for shared spaces and delivery of services are models that senior living design should aim to be. Whereas, residential spaces should be better than just great accommodation. It should be how we all aspire to live at this stage of life.
Designing for residents and families is only one facet of great senior living. To exceed service delivery in this space, designing for caregivers and staff is paramount to ensure that people who work in this vital industry are looked after. Someone once said, “To give good care, you should be cared for”. Re-looking at the working space for caregivers and staff completes the picture of the perfect functional design for senior living.
Don’t be scared of doing the different, just make it work.
There should be a much smaller gap between hospitality design and senior living design. At the moment, there are very few senior living designed homes that have any synergy to the hospitality space. We still see homes designed with a limitation in colour, texture, lackluster finishes and artworks. To move forward, designers and operators should push the design boundaries in these spaces while maintaining functionality and suitability.
In recent years, the newly built homes have cafes, hotel-like reception areas, hair salons and cinema rooms. Moving forward, the new design trends really is designing for the ‘family’ and encouraging intergenerational involvement – not just having a small playground and outdoor area.
The beauty of good design is that it makes a room or space come alive, providing a social talking point. Making great design in senior living should be a creation of social spaces that create extraordinary experiences and memories.