Category Archives: Assisted Living

Designing Senior Living Facilities to Nurture Socialization

How social connections keep seniors healthy

Social connections are important at any stage in life—we all need human interactions to be our best selves. But as we age, the number of interactions and connections we have declines, whether by choice, poor health, or the death of friends and loved ones. Feelings of loneliness can be heightened when seniors move into long-term care, even though they are surrounded by people. Leaving the familiarity of their home and neighborhood, coupled with declines in physical and cognitive health, can make them feel more disconnected than ever. That’s why designing senior living facilities to nurture social interaction is so important.

Socialization for better health

Being lonely can have a profound effect on health, especially in the elderly. Loneliness not only can lead to depression and stress, but it’s also been shown to cause memory loss, reduced mobility and even death. Some compare its effects to unhealthy habits, like smoking or lack of physical activity. Plus, the World Health Organization has designated it a major health issue.

But by simply engaging in meaningful conversations, seniors can feel more joy and optimism in their lives. Social interactions may set the tone for a desire to do more, like engaging in physical activity, eating better foods and participating in activities. That’s how social connections keep seniors healthy. And even though seniors may experience loss of social connections as they age, they find more satisfaction in the relationships they do have.

How senior living facility design can help

Enhancing socialization among your residents involves more than ensuring you’ve scheduled a variety of programming that appeals to residents. While programming is significant, the configuration and design of your building impacts how welcoming your facility feels and how easily residents can interact.

For example, bigger isn’t always better. Seniors are likely leaving a home or apartment that is much smaller than most care facilities, the size of which can feel overwhelming. So, a large space, like a lobby or multipurpose space, may not succeed as an ideal place to socialize depending upon its layout, lighting and furniture selection.

When designing senior living facilities, it’s important to think about available spaces like neighborhoods:

  • Consider remodeling a large facility into a series of smaller spaces that include six to eight rooms or apartments to foster a greater sense of community.
  • Make common areas easy to get to and navigate. Residents will socialize more if their destination is just a short walk away.
  • Reduce or eliminate long hallways. Shorter hallways may contribute to residents meeting by chance and engaging in conversation.
  • Reduce the overwhelming feeling of an open space by defining areas within it. This can be done with design details like columns or décor like flooring and furniture placement.
  • Have an open line of sight to the outdoors. Natural light does wonders for residents’ mood.
  • Consider adding memory boxes outside each room if you don’t have them already. While they are generally considered helpful for triggering memories for those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they also can serve as a conversation starter.

As you can see from these tips, the more your space reflects a sense of community, the more comfortable and secure your residents will feel. And, ultimately, they will be healthier and happier (and so will their families!).

Is it time for a facility remodel or addition?

In just 15 short years, it’s estimated that 20 percent of Americans will be over the age of 65. As those seniors enter their 70s and 80s, it’s more likely they and their children will be searching for long-term care options. Improve your marketability with an up-to-date facility design that is flexible to meet changing needs in coming decades. We can help! Designing senior living facilities is all we do. Call us at (920) 969-9344 or visit our Contact page to schedule a free consultation.

Senior Living Construction Project Officially Kicks Off in Iowa

Keystone Care Center Groundbreaking, Keystone, Iowa

Keystone Nursing Care Center to expand

Community Living Solutions officially broke ground May 15, 2018, on a 12,350-square-foot expansion at Keystone Nursing Care Center in Keystone, Iowa.

The 45-bed nursing home is adding 10 beds dedicated to providing short-term rehabilitation care. The one-story addition also will include four private rooms for long-term skilled nursing care, an inpatient/outpatient therapy center and a 400-square-foot commercial kitchen. CLS also will complete other building renovations as well as renovations to Keystone’s two parking lots and courtyard.

“The facility addition will allow short-term rehabilitation patients in need of specialized therapy to receive the best care in a comfortable, private environment,” said Aaron Klug, CLS architectural production manager. “We’re expanding the therapy center to be three times its current size and providing a separate, private entrance for outpatient therapy, offering a more efficient space for staff and patients.”

Keystone Nursing Care Center, in operation since 1973, also serves residents in its assisted living complex and independent living apartments.

Trust CLS’ specialized knowledge in Iowa

Not only do we specialize in senior living construction, we also understand the specific requirements for building in Iowa. For example, as part of our senior living design/build process, we will help facilitate a Certificate of Need. To learn more about how we will be your trusted partner in your building or remodeling project, call us at 515-478-3544.

CLS Breaks Ground on Senior Living Construction Project

Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center set for expansion

Community Living Solutions and the Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center in Owen, Wis., kicked off their senior living construction project May 11, 2018, with an official groundbreaking. The facility, which provides rehabilitative, skilled nursing and CBRF care, is expanding on the site of its current campus.

A homelike senior living design

The new 23,570-square-foot, single-story addition will directly connect to the existing main entrance. This will require a new main entryway to be developed, which will feature a drive-under canopy to make drop-offs and pick-ups easier, especially during inclement weather.

The building promises to attract new patients and residents with:

  • A brand new physical therapy gym
  • 16 private rooms with private bathrooms for short-term rehabilitation care
  • 16 private rooms and bathrooms for long-term care

The new building is designed with a household approach, providing residents with the best care in a setting that will remind them of home. The design features:

  • Household living rooms
  • Activity dens
  • Intimate dining room settings
  • Private dining options
  • A country kitchen

“Our goal in designing the Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center expansion is to provide current and future residents with a comfortable space in which to lead active, healthy lives,” said Aaron Klug, CLS architectural production manager. “This senior living design will help make the Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center more marketable, attracting rehabilitation patients and residents in need of care for many years to come.”

In addition to offering, short-term rehabilitation, assisted living and long-term care, the Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center also specializes in memory care, geriatric psychiatric care and care for the intellectually disabled. It has served Clark County since 1922.

Consider CLS for your next project

If you are considering expanding your current site or building a new assisted living or long-term facility, please contact Community Living Solutions. Our senior living construction experts take the time to listen to your needs. For a complimentary introductory meeting, call us at 920-969-9344.

Top Senior Living Design Trends to Watch This Year

Tips to bring up-and-coming styles and trends into your facility

Organizations that stay up-to-date on current senior living design trends can transform their facility from good to great. Focusing on the needs of your staff and residents can help set your senior living facility apart from others and create a great place to work and live.

When it comes to 2018 senior living design trends, many of the trends we’ve been talking about still hold true, but we’re seeing a few more for this year we’d like to share. From our vantage point, here are the top six senior living design trends we’re keeping our eyes on.

Hybrid buildings

Primarily for those seeking independent living, facilities considered hybrid are made up of two to four floors, sometimes over a parking garage. Each floor has a few apartments with short hallways and elevators close by for easy and secure access. These apartments are built in a way to provide residents with the feeling of living in a one-story home.

Larger, custom rooms

As Baby Boomers age into senior community living, they will demand a homier style of living. Individual units are being designed with a larger footprint, and during building or remodeling phases, prospective residents are helping to choose interior finishes, like cabinets and floors.

Outdoor spaces

Spaces for walking or soaking in the sun of a warm summer day are becoming more and more prevalent in assisted living facility design. The difference we’re seeing is that these spaces aren’t just developed as courtyards. Walking trails, larger lawns and even rooftop gardens are accessible to seniors and their guests.

Design touches

Many senior living facilities are embracing unique design touches in their facilities. Senior living interior design trends include selecting art or accessories that reflect the local flavor to choosing functional furnishings with a pleasing aesthetic style. Senior living facilities are working to keep an interior space that is elegant, comfortable and current with today’s design style.

Luxurious design elements, like metallic finishes in kitchen spaces or handmade textiles for window treatments, furniture and accent pillows, can create a unique style that is comfortable and classy to your facility, especially if your clientele fits this luxury lifestyle.

Social spaces

Along with creating a community feel, many senior living facilities are creating a variety of spaces that encourage socialization among residents. For example, a library and coffee shop on-site create a great space for residents and the broader community to come together socially. Some facilities are also creating spaces for residents to take part in their daily activities as a group, like cooking or gardening. Assisted living facilities that include or are closely located to grocery stores and shopping, cultural and community events, and other services is one of the top senior living design trends.

Happy staff make happy residents

In many industries, finding good employees is a challenge. One study suggests that happy employees are 12 percent more productive. Creating an environment that is comfortable and efficient for employees, and providing staff a well-designed space for breaks will go a long way in attracting and retaining employees. The latest trends include everything from improved work stations to better storage. Facilities also are giving staff their own eating areas and restrooms as well as their own separate access to enjoying the outdoors.

Let us help you with the design of your senior living facility

Do you want to incorporate senior living design trends into your facility? Community Living Solutions can work with you in the master planning of your facility design to evaluate your current situation and provide solutions. Contact us or call (920) 969-9344 for a full assessment to help determine your future facility design needs.

Build Community with 5 Customer Experience Best Practices

Customer Experience Design for Senior Living Communities

Ready or not … 2020 is right around the corner and it is brewing a perfect storm for senior living community customer experience. Not only is 2020 the year AARP® estimates an unprecedented 117 million Americans will need health assistance of some kind, it’s also the year Walker Info reports that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator between brands. Senior living communities can expect increased demand and competition while residents simultaneously mandate landslide changes to your customer experience offerings. Turn these changes into opportunities by incorporating customer experience best practices into your senior living design.

But first, what does customer experience look like for your senior living community? Customer experience is a culmination of all interactions a customer has with your community, regardless of channel, throughout the customer lifespan. From the first time a potential resident or their family visits your website or walks through your doors to daily interactions with staff members and every bill they pay, it all adds up to create their total customer experience. Here are five customer experience best practices customized to get senior living communities started.

1. Put people first

Senior living is a people business, and putting your people first can make a big impact. McKnight’s shared an example of a customer experience supervisor who visited residents to build community while also asking about facility concerns. This personal effort lowered formal complaints and helped residents feel their concerns were heard.

Other simple ideas include:

  • Treat residents as respected friends throughout the organization. Train younger team members on generational communication differences so all residents feel respected and cared for.
  • Determine what communication channels residents and family members prefer to use. Whether phone, email, chat, text or face-to-face, find ways to seamlessly incorporate preferred channels into your processes. For example, many family members work full-time and are not available during the day. Make sure there is an after-hours bill pay or questions line they can use.
  • Make sure residents can get an answer with the first person they ask. Train and empower your entire team to find the right answer to any question.

2. Learn from your community

Customer experience often draws on interviews, focus groups, satisfaction surveys and other listening tools to learn about opportunities from your customer’s perspective. If you’re not ready to conduct formal research, start documenting interactions with community members and using both positive and negative feedback to better understand your team’s strengths. Collect this data to gain understanding of the most common issues your residents are facing. Solve those issues before going any further, and ask your community for feedback on the new solution.

3. Define the customer journey

Whether your team collects formal or informal data, use what you’ve learned to map all customer touch points. Create a customer journey map by identifying each audience group, specific group goals and all interactions with your community along the way. For example, a family member may encounter your community in the following places:

  • Online when researching senior living communities for Mom or Dad
  • At an initial visit
  • On move-in day
  • During regular visits
  • When helping pay the bills

Each touch point might include several unique interactions. At each touch point and interaction ask yourself (or even better … ask the customer):

  • What’s his or her goal?
  • What barriers is he/she encountering?
  • How does the interaction make the customer feel?
  • What questions does he/she have?

Opportunities for enhanced customer experience emerge from each customer-community interaction.

4. Pair customer needs with customer service enhancements

Your community provides wellness, housing, community, nutrition and medical services, plus so much more. People have needs in each of these areas, and any place there’s a need, you have an opportunity to enhance the customer experience. Draw on technology for innovative ideas to meet needs in each area. Even if your community doesn’t use the latest gadget, care-driven technology may spark ideas for enhancing care in your community.

5. Implement, test, measure and repeat

Every customer experience enhancement may not be the end-all-be-all to solving a resident need. Seek feedback from your community and gather new ideas, and repeat the process. Community members will notice the effort and enjoy the process.

If some of your customer experience barriers involve limitations with your facility, contact us for a free consultation or call the Community Living Solution team at 920-969-9345.