Category Archives: Architecture

Optimize Senior Care with 9 LED Lighting Design Tips

LED lighting design features health, safety and cost benefits for senior living design

Are you curious about senior living architecture elements that can potentially reduce costs, improve resident well-being and increase community appeal? If so, LED lighting may be a great fit in your senior living community’s lighting design.

Lighting design’s multi-faceted impact on senior living architecture

As senior living community leaders consider operational costs and resident health, LED lighting may be a beneficial senior living design option. As we age, our eyes become more sensitive to glare and light variations because the pupil becomes less responsive, and the eye lens looses elasticity. The Lighting Research Center reports that these vision changes cause older adults to require approximately 70 percent more light to see objects that were readily visible earlier in life.

Aging eyes not only require more light, they also require better focused light in specific color tones.  Over time, the eye lens yellows, making cooler colors like blue, green and violet become difficult to see. 2,900 to 3,500 Kelvins is light output recommendation for senior living communities. Not only does LED lighting meet this guideline, it also provides use flexibility in the form of dimming and color tones.

LED lighting design benefits

Senior health and lighting design

Advances in lighting design now allow senior living communities to mimic natural light and light/dark patterns. Multiple studies have demonstrated the benefits of natural lighting on senior health. For example, a study published in the U.S. Library of Medicine showed that consistent light/dark patterns improved sleep and decreased agitation among residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Other studies also linked quality, natural lighting to reduced headaches, nausea, mood disorders, sleep disruption and stress. LED lighting often works well in natural lighting design because of color control and brightness options.

A light color rendering of CRI 80+ is always recommended for senior vision. Communities utilizing light tones that meet resident needs can also expect increased satisfaction as residents view spaces lit to 80+ CRI as more attractive than traditional fluorescent lighting.

Senior living community safety

Well-placed supplementary lighting helps residents get in and out of bed and around their space comfortably. It also provides increased fall protection. Illuminating handrails, floors, stairs and doorways with LEDs helps residents gain confidence navigating their spaces while maintaining natural lighting health benefits. The entire community benefits from these lighting enhancements as nighttime staff complete work safely and efficiently with less disruption to residents.

LED lighting operational cost considerations

LED is known to reduce overall operational costs because the technology requires less electricity to provide more focused light. While power needs are reduced, community managers also need to consider material costs. LEDs can reduce light bulb material costs thanks to some models with a 50,000-hour (8-9 year) lifespan. However, Senior Housing News reports that LED fixtures can cost one and a half to two times as much as standard fixtures.

Watch out for less expensive LED fixtures that are designed, but not labeled, as one-and-done models. When the first LED dies, the fixture dies with it. As LED technology progresses, fewer and fewer one-use models are on the market.

Tip—Make sure your lighting design project is estimated with multi-use fixtures to save on costly changes.

LED lighting best practices

Are you considering community lighting upgrades? Use these senior living design lighting best practices to save time, costs and frustration.

  • Not all locations and fixtures are a perfect fit for LED (i.e. spaces where the lights aren’t on all day provide less ROI).
  • Multi-use spaces are great LED candidates thanks to dimmer compatibility. Lighting needs vary by use, and LEDs can provide the right lighting for a yoga class or a game night without changing spaces.
  • Consider how LED lighting can be used in transitional spaces to provide consistent lighting for the senior eye.

If you want to discuss how senior living architecture and design elements, including lighting design, can maximize resident health while saving costs, contact our Community Living Solutions team at 920-969-9344.

Senior Living Construction Creativity & Expertise

Working with seniors and persons in assisted living requires not only compassion and heart, but laser focus on making residents’ lives as vibrant as possible. As experts in the design and construction of senior living and assisted living facilities, we at Community Living Solutions, LLC (CLS) strive to create senior living communities that are highly functional and provide an attractive and uplifting place to live.

We wanted to share a few former senior living construction renovation projects that quickly convey our ability to create beautiful senior living spaces –  Attic Angel Rehab and Assisted Living, a senior living facility located in southern Wisconsin; St. Paul Elder Services Rehab Center and Memory Care facility in Kaukauna, Wis.; and Grace Lutheran Foundation Skilled Nursing Facility in Altoona, Wis. Each senior housing construction project we take presents its own set of challenges, yet we overcame obstacles with creativity, expertise and the utmost professionalism.

Attic Angel Rehab Center and Assisted Living Addition and Renovations

The Attic Angel Rehab Center and Assisted Living renovations included 54,000 square feet of additional space, resulting in 14 private beds dedicated to short-term rehabilitation residents and 24 apartments dedicated to residential assisted living. The facility is in the city of Middleton and is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. Because there was little space to build out, this senior housing construction project required us to think creatively about expanding inside the existing facility footprint without negatively affecting existing resident rooms and apartments. Our solution was to create a central courtyard that provided secure outdoor space for residents to enjoy, while still retaining and maximizing outdoor views.

It was important to the Attic Angel staff that we keep the neighbors satisfied during and post construction efforts.

“The new three-story addition includes a flat roof design solution that is architecturally similar with the existing building’s pitched roof, but minimizes the height impact for the nearby neighbors.” says Duane Helwig, Vice President of Design.

St. Paul Elder Services Rehab Center and Memory Care Addition

The St. Paul Elder Services Rehab Center and Memory Care senior living construction project required CLS to create 24 private residence suites in the memory care unit and 13 private suites in the skilled nursing rehabilitation center.

St Paul Elder Services, Inc. resembled more of a nursing home medical facility, rather than a center with home-like senior living design. CLS went right to work by eliminating the existing nursing station and created a warm hearth area where residents can gather for social activities. The facility site was confined by residential properties on either side and had a significant external grade.

“We were able to build the requested addition on the existing site and utilized the external land grade to our advantage to create an additional community space in the basement of the facility,” said, Tom Lemkuil, Senior Architect and Partner.

Other areas we also renovated:

  • Chapel space expansion
  • Dining room updates and innovations
  • Modern porte cochère or a covered entrance for vehicles to pass to the courtyard

Read More about the St. Paul’s Elder Services project

Grace Lutheran Foundation Skilled Nursing Facility

Community Living Solutions was entrusted with the Grace Lutheran Foundation Skilled Nursing Facility senior living construction project. This effort included building an 85,110-square-foot replacement nursing facility with 48 short-term care beds and a 50-bed long-term care facility. CLS created a warm and inviting environment supporting health, wellness and entertainment to meet the spiritual and social needs of the community. The new construction included formal and informal dining areas, state of-the-art therapy, wellness and rehabilitation suite, commons area for community gatherings, chapel, gift shop and salon. To further complement the appearance, we used a variety of colors and building materials to create an amazing residential assisted living space.

New senior living construction or existing renovation?

Whether you are building a new senior living facility or need renovations on an existing facility, we have the expertise to meet your business goals. Community Living Solutions takes great pride in its ability to bring an attractive array of senior living design options that are guided by our compassion for resident care.

If you are looking to update your senior living facility or if you’d like to build a new facility, contact us for a free consultation or, call Terry McLaughlin at 920-969-9344.

Future-Proof Senior Living Design with Multi-Purpose Spaces

Why building community is an ever-lasting assisted living design trend

It’s no secret that baby boomers are completely redefining active aging. This generation’s impact on the industry isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Last year the population of U.S. residents over the age of 65 reached 50 million for the first time, and is expected to peak over 71 million in 2050. Unfortunately, this growing population does not equal an instant boon for senior living communities. The senior living market is competitive, and many mature adults are electing to stay in their homes as long as possible.

For those who are seeking assisted living facilities or senior living communities, they are looking for community, amenities, high-level care and customer service. Savvy communities will find ways to meet today’s senior living design needs while anticipating tomorrow’s trends. Thoughtfully planned multi-purpose spaces offer several ways for facilities to stay competitive in a dynamic and ever-evolving market.

Multi-use spaces benefit senior care

Baby boomers will continue to impact the industry; multi-purpose spaces are just one effect of their influence. Multi-use spaces are a good solution for today’s desired coffee bistro while simultaneously meeting the need for fitness classes, meditation sessions and community events. Plus, any space that builds strong community will serve double or even triple duty by appealing to current and potential residents while improving their overall health and increasing the environment’s vibrancy.

Multi-purpose spaces also increase senior care facilities’ sustainability by accommodating a variety of perhaps unknown amenities for years to come. Communities that thoughtfully integrate the right multi-use spaces can often save by using less land for new construction or expansion.

Senior living design: Best practices for multi-purpose spaces

When reconfiguring existing space or building using new senior living design, consider all the potential uses a space could be. Design tools are available to help a space convert from a classroom to dining area to theater and more. Identifying the potential uses for a space helps Community Living Solutions recommend flooring, lighting and even acoustic options to help a room transition with ease.

Focusing on how a room will be used today and might be used in the future is also a great way to ensure maximum versatility. Whether you are looking at multi-purpose spaces or even resident rooms, build with flexibility so that rooms can be converted for higher or lower care options when market demand shifts.

Even if your facility is not considering new construction, you can still use multi-purpose space best practices. iAdvance Senior Care suggests reconfiguring residential areas to create neighborhoods within the larger community. To ensure security while also encouraging community, these residential areas can be set up to progress from public to private space. This strategy can be especially helpful for memory care units where both community and security are high priorities.

Some facilities are also integrating the community at large into their resident communities, such as offering daycare. Childcare provides intergenerational connectedness that benefits residents and children alike while providing an additional facility income stream. Not all facilities will add a daycare, but multi-use spaces can be used to host other intergenerational activities. Here are just a few forms of events and gatherings that could be hosted in a multi-purpose space.

  • Partner with a local daycare or preschool for a monthly story hour.
  • Invite children’s service organizations (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or 4-H) to host a monthly birthday party for residents or to share technology tips.
  • Use the space to host external community meetings each month to help residents stay connected to the civic happenings in your city. The Rotary and Lions or local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association or AARP are all great examples.

No matter what spaces your community converts to serve multiple purposes, design aesthetics should stay timeless. Maintain a neutral color palette with minimal patterns. Natural textures can keep the design interesting without relying on patterns or colors that may become dated.

Curious about how your senior care community may benefit from multi-purpose spaces? Connect with our team for a free senior living design consultation. Simply contact us via the website or call Terry McLaughlin at 920-969-9344.

St. Joseph Residence Senior Living Construction Project

Renovations now underway in New London

Community Living Solutions broke ground recently on facility updates to St. Joseph Residence, a senior living community that has served the New London area for 50 years. The senior living construction project involves renovating St. Joseph’s skilled nursing facility and adding a new short-term rehabilitation area.

Project details

The senior living design divides the current facility into smaller communities and provides residents with private rooms and bathrooms. It also features:

  • A 10-bed short-term rehabilitation addition with a new inpatient/outpatient therapy center.
  • A renovated building wing that houses the rehab area with 20 private rooms.
  • A 30-bed long-term care unit. This unit, with a new addition of six beds and a business strategy to downsize the number of licensed beds, will allow the majority of residents to have private rooms.
  • A 6-bed CBRF assisted living memory care addition. This addition, coupled with 18 beds in a renovated area of the existing building, will result in a 24-bed memory care assisted living facility. This allows St. Joseph to meet an unfilled need for dementia and Alzheimer’s care in the community.

In designing the facility, CLS’ goal was to provide residents with a home-like, family atmosphere that would enhance their quality of life.

“This senior living construction project was designed with the future in mind,” said Vice President of Design Duane Helwig. “As baby boomers choose a senior living community for their parents—and eventually for themselves—they will be looking for a facility that offers opportunities for engagement and socialization along with the privacy of their own personal space. We believe we have achieved that for St. Joseph residents and their families.”

Construction is expected to be completed in June 2018.

Are you planning a building renovation or addition?

If you are considering a senior living construction project, such as a building expansion, renovation or campus repositioning, we can help you with every step, include master planning and architectural design. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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.