Monthly Archives: May 2017

Boost Marketability with These 5 Senior Living Design Trends

Trends to attract seniors and staff

As competition for residents and staff heats up among senior living communities, leaders of these communities are looking for ways to be more attractive within their market. Many have found that updating and refreshing their living spaces have prospective residents walking through their doors.

Today’s seniors, often prompted by their baby boomer children, are seeking living communities that bring them personal comfort, often with a touch of luxury, rather than simply a place to live out their remaining years. We’ve compiled five of the latest senior living design trends that meet the satisfaction of today’s seniors and their caregivers.

5 trends in senior housing architecture and design

Create a sense of home. This has been an assisted living design trend—as well as a trend for most senior communities—for several years. What exactly do we mean by a “sense of home?” It means doing away with the institutional design of the past and replacing it with elements found in today’s upscale homes. Modern color palettes, finishes and materials give spaces warmth. Home-like atmospheres with artwork, fireplaces, high ceilings and cozy seating areas feel inviting for residents, staff and guests.

Use biophilic design. Biophilic design brings nature indoors with the use of natural materials; live plants; large, high windows that allow sunlight to pour in; views and access to the outdoors; and art that depicts nature. The benefits of biophilic design for an aging population and their caregivers are numerous: it reduces stress, expedites healing, improves cognition and promotes socialization.

Provide multiple dining options. No longer do seniors have just one option—the large dining hall—at mealtime. Senior housing architecture now includes a variety of spaces for differing dining styles. Cafés, bistros, bars and markets with flexible food service hours (much like a restaurant) are now all found in senior living communities. Community leaders have discovered that at a time when seniors may no longer find enjoyment in eating as taste buds become dull, allowing them to dine in a more stimulating environment brings back their joy of eating.

Design for varying abilities. The goal of senior living communities is to help residents be as independent as possible to the extent of their abilities. Therefore, senior living design needs to be flexible and accommodating. Shorter hallways and bright lighting make walks less intimidating for those with moderate ambulatory issues. Proper acoustics can deafen the noise of high-traffic areas or areas with hard flooring surfaces. Residents who are able to push themselves in wheelchairs need to navigate corners easily. Memory care residents need free flowing space to walk, rather than hallways with dead ends.

Design for staff. As we face a marked increase in the senior population in coming decades, the dire need for healthcare workers will continue. While many of the senior living design trends we discussed so far will attract employees, there are design and architecture elements you can incorporate specifically to show appreciation to staff. Lounge seating, sleeping rooms and full kitchens with a captain’s table for staff meals are among the elements being included in new facilities.

Design for the future

Finally, our best piece of advice is to design for the future and changing trends. Your senior living community will last for decades and will need to appeal to new, future generations. By allowing for flexibility in your design, you’ll be poised to make updates and changes that meet the population’s healthcare needs of the time.

If you would like to implement one or more the latest trends into an existing or new community, contact us or call (920) 969-9344 to ask about our innovative architectural design ideas.

Marketing to Seniors: How to Open Your Doors Before They Arrive

The secret is meeting seniors “where they are”

Whether a senior is alone in contemplating a move to a senior living facility, or whether the entire family is involved in the conversation, the decision to make the move doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take several months or even years for a senior to come to the conclusion that being a part of a senior living community is the right next step.

Meeting seniors where they are

These months and years of contemplation are the perfect time for you and your staff to begin fostering relationships with seniors and their families. Even if you don’t know exactly who these seniors are, there are ways to reach out to those in your community who likely need and want your services in the near future.

You can do that by first considering how to do what we call meeting seniors “where they are.” In other words, where might seniors be in their decision-making toward senior living and how best to engage with them?

Some are likely just thinking about what’s next. Maybe they are considering an independent living community because they want to downsize or become part of a larger community. Some may be experiencing health problems that can be overcome with some assistance from a family member or other caregiver. And then, there are those who likely could use the services of a senior living community due to more significant health problems, but are not emotionally ready to take that step.

Once you identify these places in the journey, you can create new programs and market current ones to meet their needs. From offering educational classes and adult day care programs to providing volunteer opportunities, all are great ways to begin fostering relationships with seniors in your community. Plus, these ideas can be tailored for seniors who are at different steps in the journey. For example, if you know a senior whose likely next step is an independent living community, ask them to volunteer or perhaps even share a talent by offering a class. For those still living at home but needing assistance, offering them Meals on Wheels or other care, is a great introduction to your services.

Remember that their physical needs are not the only priority in meeting them “where they are.” Consider their emotional needs—like those feelings of uncertainty—that accompany seniors on the journey.

Marketing senior living to your community

As you develop programs, or begin to invite community members to your facility, you’ll need to get the word out. Here are a few fundamentals to keep in mind as you market your senior living community:

  • Begin establishing trust with seniors and their families. Rather than trying to sell your services, listen to what they are telling you. By being a better listener, you’ll find ways to connect for the long term.
  • Try not to use confusing industry jargon in your conversations. Tell real stories about real people that are both emotional and memorable.
  • Avoid talking about situations in which seniors needed to enter a senior living facility due to health or family issues, as opposed to coming to the decision on their own. This can scare prospective residents, who likely already have feelings of doubt about the future.
  • But, do talk about your current residents, along with their accomplishments and activities. Better yet, engage prospects with your residents for a behind-the-scenes view of senior living.

Let us help you plan your future

If you need additional or reconfigured space to provide programs to attract prospects to your facility, contact us or call (920) 969-9344. The first step in our process—master planning—includes a market assessment that will help you determine your future space and programming needs.