Category Archives: Construction

Creating Communities with Pocket Neighborhoods for Seniors

Pocket neighborhoods – the future of senior living

As the number of retirees continues to increase, so does the demand for housing that matches the wants and needs of seniors ages 55 or more. And what do seniors want and need? They are looking for social interactions with people their own age, they want some choice in housing options and they want to remain active. One option that is becoming popular around the United States is pocket neighborhoods. With a small footprint and easy access to senior services, pocket neighborhoods often check all the boxes for senior housing.

What is a pocket neighborhood?

Pocket neighborhoods are planned communities featuring multiple single-family homes or duplexes centralized around services and community spaces. Each home is designed with style, affordability and ease of maintenance in mind. Homes are built in close proximity to shared resources, such as a community center, activities facility or green space.

Ranging from just 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, these single-family homes are much smaller than the average 2,500 square foot home. While intentionally small, pocket neighborhood homes are big in convenience. Because they are designed and positioned to build a sense of community, seniors who choose them as an independent living option have ample opportunity to visit neighbors and take advantage of shared services, conveniences and activities they may not otherwise have access to, all while enjoying privacy and independence.

Benefits of pocket neighborhoods

There are the initial benefits of pocket neighborhoods, such as access to services and common spaces, and then there are the deeper, more meaningful benefits. By building an intentional neighborhood for seniors who are invested in the idea of building a thriving community, you can create a sense of belonging and ownership for those who reside there. Truly, the benefits of pocket neighborhoods for seniors are three-fold:

  • Physical. By placing homes in close proximity to services and activities, the ability for seniors to participate in activities increases and enhances their independence.
  • Emotional. By developing a sense of community, pocket neighborhoods bring people together who would otherwise be isolated.
  • Mental. Being part of engaging conversations and participating in activities help seniors stay alert and maintain cognitive function.

Many retirees may not have family living close by. Pocket communities curb the sense of isolation and disconnectedness seniors may feel and replace it with feelings of closeness and community.

Pocket neighborhood design – an emerging market

While still a relatively new concept, pocket neighborhoods are popping up across the country. Indiana, Washington, California and Massachusetts have developed communities in rural, urban and/or suburban settings. And, while a sense of community is important, so is a sense of style and function. And today’s retirees are looking for more—more  style, more accommodations and more attention to independent living design. With attention to style, placement and planning, pocket neighborhoods can be designed as a single community or as individual pockets within larger community, as long as all seniors have access to the same services, activities and sense of community.

By creating an inner space with no public roads that traverse the neighborhood, communities feature sidewalk-lined homes that lead to front porches for visits and encourage walking to community activities or services. To enhance privacy, bathrooms and bedrooms are generally placed at the back of the home.

Which seniors are best suited for pocket neighborhoods?

While pocket neighborhoods are beneficial to all ages, their connectedness and availability of services make them exceptionally suited for retirees who enjoy:

  • Easy access to living services
  • Independence and privacy
  • A sense of community

However, pocket neighborhoods are not the best-fit solution for seniors in need of memory care or assisted living services. 

Learn more about pocket neighborhood solutions for seniors

At Community Living Solutions, we specialize in creating senior living communities that meet the evolving needs of seniors. By partnering with senior living providers and developers, our caring team is devoted to providing our clients with the expertise needed to serve aging communities.

To learn more about our solutions or how you can make pocket neighborhoods part of your aging community, complete our contact form or call 920-969-9344.

Senior Living Construction Opens in Keystone, Iowa

Facility celebrates with ribbon cutting

Community Living Solutions and Keystone Nursing Care Center in Keystone, Iowa, celebrated completion of phase one on a 12,350-square-foot senior living construction project, hosting a ribbon cutting in late February.

The first stage of CLS’ design-build project included a one-story addition with 10 short-term rehabilitation beds, four long-term skilled care private rooms and an inpatient/outpatient therapy center. As we try to do with most projects, CLS teamed with many local and regional contractors to complete the project.

The addition’s interior design has features unique to Keystone—it incorporates photos taken by staff of the local community and environment to help residents and rehab patients feel at home.

“The goal of this project was to provide a more private and comfortable space for short-term rehabilitation patients,” said Aaron Klug, CLS architectural production manager. “The therapy center is now three times its previous size, and patients will enjoy using a separate, private entrance for outpatient therapy.”

CLS will complete the senior living construction project’s second phase this spring. It includes a 400-square-foot commercial kitchen as well as other building and courtyard renovations.

Keystone Nursing Care Center, a 45-bed senior living facility, opened in 1973. It also serves residents in its assisted living complex and independent living apartments.

Senior living design is all we do

If you’re interested in expanding your senior living facility, give us a call at 515-478-3544. Our team of senior living construction experts can help you navigate Iowa’s building requirements, including facilitating a Certificate of Need.

Clark County Senior Living Construction Project

Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center opens

Community Living Solutions and the Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center in Owen, Wis., celebrated the opening of the senior living facility’s short-term rehabilitation suites on Feb. 15. CLS broke ground on the 23,570-square-foot, single-story addition in May 2018.

The new addition connects to the existing 1920s-era building. CLS’s senior living design included creating a new main entryway featuring a drive-under canopy to make patient drop-off and pick-up easier, especially during inclement weather.

The new addition also includes:

  • A physical therapy gym
  • 16 private short-term rehabilitation rooms with private baths
  • 16 private long-term care rooms with private baths

“Our goal in designing the Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center was to remind residents of home so that they can lead more active, healthy lives,” said Aaron Klug, CLS architectural production manager. “The senior living design features household living rooms, private dining options, a country kitchen and more. We anticipate the facility will be in demand as area residents consider their options for short- and long-term care.”

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

Senior living construction is our specialty

If you are looking to expand your senior living facility, give us a call. We have expertise in incorporating new designs into existing spaces. Contact us at 920-969-9344 to schedule a complimentary consultation. We’d love to talk!

Remodeling and Adaptive Reuse Projects

Adaptive Reuse Project | Grancare Gardens

Finding more affordable ways to improve marketability

As architects specializing in senior living design and construction, we hear it often—care facility owners and executives like you are challenged with appealing to more discerning clients (and their children) while keeping costs in check. So, what happens when your senior living community is years out of date or when market demand calls for more capacity? That’s when more affordable alternatives to new construction may come into play, including remodeling your facility or embarking on an adaptive reuse project.

If you’re thinking about how you can meet customer demand when you don’t have the ability or aren’t interested in building new, it’s worthwhile to consider these alternatives.

Master planning: The first step

Differentiation is always the name of game in senior care. While the care you provide is the most important, your facility’s look and atmosphere is a major driver in whether a prospective resident chooses you over your competitor. Today’s seniors and their children are looking for their next living space to feel like home, a space where they are comfortable and can stay as active as possible.

Considering facility changes? Stay competitive with architectural design by starting your planning phase sooner rather than later. This is especially true if a new long-term care facility is planned in your market—the goal would be to have your project done about the same time so that new competition doesn’t get a step ahead of you.

If you’re in a competitive market and considering adaptive use or remodeling, a comprehensive master plan will benefit you in a variety of ways:

  • It’ll help ensure your remodeling or adaptive use project meets market needs.
  • It’ll provide you with a detailed financial analysis to determine whether the project is cost-effective.
  • Finally, it’ll provide you with a general concept of what your design will look like and the programs and services you could offer.

If you’re planning a facility remodel, this initial document should also include a plan for construction with minimal resident or caregiver disruptions. At CLS, we even create plans that involve and engage your residents in viewing construction progress, when possible, so that they feel included in their home’s evolution.

Considering adaptive reuse

If a master plan reveals your local market could use more senior living facilities, you may want to consider an adaptive reuse project, rather than building from scratch. Empty medical facilities, hotels, schools and other commercial buildings may lend themselves to such projects. Adaptive reuse is a commercial construction trend that many senior living facilities are adopting around the United States due to the scarcity and high land costs. In some cases, it’s also helping senior living communities locate in coveted spaces close to downtowns or cultural centers, where today’s seniors want to be.

But not every available space lends itself to a more affordable option. That’s when careful planning and a complete understanding of what it would take to convert the property becomes a significant piece of the planning process. While these are considerations for any senior living facility, it’s important to keep them in mind through an adaptive use redesign:

  • Mobility: How will seniors enter and exit easily? Do the materials used in the original construction provide high contrast to improve visibility? Is lighting sufficient? If the space is especially large or has several stories, consider upkeep on elevators and providing rest spaces to break up longer walkways.
  • Socialization: Seniors’ physical and mental health relies on socialization with others. Ensure they have access to common spaces, even if it’s in a lobby area as well as outdoors.
  • Public spaces: Based upon the location and size of an adaptive reuse project, it may lend itself to public use. Perhaps a portion could be rented out for a local shop or café. Or, your public-facing space could be designed to invite the community to share a cup of coffee or fitness class.

An adaptive reuse project success

When Grancare Gardens in Green Bay, Wis., approached us to develop a new assisted living center, we saw an opportunity literally next door. Grancare’s long-term nursing facility shared the block with an abandoned medical clinic and its parking lot. Although Grancare had been looking for a green space to build, we approached them about reusing the former clinic because it offered two benefits: it would allow Grancare to provide a continuum of care on one campus, and it offered cost savings.

We  transformed the dark clinic environment into an inviting 16-unit space with large windows and a gazebo that draw in natural light, comfortable interior design elements, an open-concept common area and a beautiful outdoor garden.

Architects specializing in senior living

If you are considering remodeling your senior living community or see an opportunity for an adaptive reuse project, give us a call at (920) 969-9344 or visit our Contact page. We can help you develop the most cost-effective plan to meet your market needs.

Senior Living Construction with Community Living Solutions

How we bring the pieces of the puzzle together

At Community Living Solutions, designing and building senior living communities isn’t all we do. We think beyond brick and mortar to ensure our clients are making the best decisions for their future. How do we do that? With a comprehensive planning process, a commitment to active listening and informed decision-making. That way, all the pieces of a senior living construction project come together in a state-of-the-art facility that will meet residents’ and employees’ needs for years to come.

We often compare our process to a three-legged stool made up of planning, architecture and construction. Our extensive planning process leads to thoughtful design and construction, which is based on our clients’ vision coupled with current and future market demand. When one of those legs doesn’t function effectively, the project suffers. See how we approach each of these services to ensure all three legs work together to create a state-of-the-art senior living facility.

Our planning process

Before we begin designing your senior living facility, we take a significant amount of time gathering information to fully understand everything about your organization, your team, your residents and your board of directors. Thanks to our experience in designing and building only senior living communities, we also bring insight we gained from past projects to help ensure yours goes smoothly.

We have assisted clients with developing strategic initiatives of their business plans. We helped them obtain financing and determine the capital cost of their project. Typically, we assist with identifying third-party market feasibility consultants to help our clients determine what to build—or whether to build—based on market demand.

We enter every project knowing there are numerous decision-making possibilities, and every decision affects the whole. Like a Rubik’s Cube®, if you change one thing, there are another five sides that could be affected, for better or worse. That’s why we take master planning so seriously. Without proper planning, making changes without noticing how they affect the whole can leave you frustrated. And worse yet, leave you with costly mistakes both now and in the future.

Staying on trend in architectural design

We design and build only senior living facilities because we share our clients’ passion for providing seniors the best quality of life possible. Our person-centered designs are uniquely creative as they need to solve a series of complex problems—focusing on residents’ quality of life, maximizing operations and staff efficiencies, minimizing overall costs and taking advantage of the latest market trends.

We do our due diligence by researching not only overall architectural design trends but also new products or new ways of delivering care that may affect the design. Three examples come to mind:

  • During a recent memory care expansion at Bethel Home & Services in Viroqua, Wis., we brought the first Snoezelen room to that market. These multi-sensory rooms help reduce anxiety, especially for those living with memory loss.
  • In post-construction client surveys, we learned that while the long-term care market is demanding private bathrooms, there are fewer people available to clean those bathrooms. At the same time, we learned of a light fixture that is said to kill germs and bacteria. Could installing these light fixtures help upkeep these bathrooms in some small way? It’s possible.
  • Those living with memory loss may benefit from a room design with the subtle reminder of having the restroom in view from the bed. The possibility of reducing accidents allows caregivers to spend time on greater needs and interaction.

Our portfolio is full of projects that not only brought beautiful new living spaces to area markets, but they also solved day-to-day challenges, both big and small.

Helping reduce senior living construction costs

People often ask about assisted living construction costs, as well as construction costs of other senior living facilities. At Community Living Solutions, we take pride in bringing together all the disciplines needed under one source of responsibility: us. That helps keep costs down.

Every project is led by a CLS partner who develops and helps to manage a team of about 20 subcontractors. In every instance, we hire local tradespeople who fully understand the area’s building codes. We vet them thoroughly to make sure they are fully staffed, have the right experience and background, and are financially sound. We also ensure they share our common values so they become a trusted partner of your complete construction team.

We save money by acting as our own general contractor, and we pass those savings on to you. It’s estimated that a competitive construction management procurement process, such as the one we deliver, can save an average of 8 percent on construction costs.

The CLS way

We view success as lessening for our clients any burdens that may come from a building project; delivering an efficient, homelike facility; and saving clients money in the long run. If you are interested in seeing how we are different, request an introductory meet-and-greet by visiting our Contact page or calling (920) 969-9344.