Appeal to local seniors by cultivating your community identity
When it comes to designing a welcoming Senior Living building, it’s about more than just upscale furnishings and on-trend amenities. Today’s prospective residents are looking for experiences and amenities that let them continue leading active lives. Cultivating your community’s identity to match the needs of the local seniors can help boost your marketability. Infusing trends, local businesses, aesthetics and elements of the surrounding area can help you create a building that seniors want to call home. Here are a few ways to start cultivating your community’s identity:
- Explore the community – Uncovering what’s important to local seniors is a good place to start. What are they looking for when it comes to Senior Living? What is their family looking for? It’s important to make sure seniors feel comfortable and take pride in their new homes. Gain a greater understanding of the area by taking a market tour to discover the hot restaurants, where to shop, what amenities are available and the demographics of your target market.
- Infuse local flair – Interior design can help create a sense of pride in the community. Bringing in local flavor through key furnishings and artwork makes a big impact. For example, include images of local veterans or historic photographs of the town. Honoring the community’s history and heritage can help create a sense of belonging for prospective residents.
- Serve favorite flavors – When designing dining areas, take note of favorite restaurants in the community. Providing ambiance, service and food that rival the local restaurants can boost marketability. Appeal to prospective residents by serving favorite foods of the area, like brats and cheese curds in Wisconsin or barbeque in Kansas City. Reach out to local restaurants and chefs to invite them to prepare a house special or demonstrate cooking techniques.
- Accommodate seniors’ devices – As baby boomers enter the market, they’ll expect a tech-savvy community where they can use their connected devices. Your community’s technology should continue to evolve and change as you plan for the future. Enhance resident independence with the most up-to-date technology that connects residents to community events and important family interactions.
Aligning your community’s identity with the surrounding area will help boost marketability and make residents more comfortable. See how we can help you cultivate your community identity by contacting us today.
Attract quality caregivers by updating your staff spaces
Experiential design isn’t just for your residents – it’s important for your staff members too. Senior Living communities should not only provide a comfortable home for seniors, but they should also offer a comfortable workplace for your staff. As we look ahead to 2018, we’re seeing developers put more emphasis on designing outstanding workspaces to attract prospective staff members. And with the increased staffing shortages, the design and operational efficiency of a building is playing a larger role as well. As the pressure to retain and attract great staff increases, here are a few ways you can attract top talent:
- Consider the demographics – Understanding what factors attract someone to the job, like comfort, pay and connections, can help you get into the right mindset. Keep in mind the changing demographics of your staff, and create a culture that’s attractive to prospective staff members. This could mean providing childcare or offering workout facilities. In addition to the design of the space, ensure staff receives adequate training so they can embrace the community’s vision.
- Design an attractive workplace – When people walk into a building, they base their impression off three elements: smell, looks and feeling. To attract prospective staff members, ensure your community excels in these three areas. Consider elevating your staff lounges by adding comfy seating with tech-friendly charging capabilities. Making staff lounges feel more like a retreat can help caregivers feel refreshed after taking a break, helping them better focus on resident needs.
- Offer attractive amenities – Ensuring a safe and comfortable kitchen environment can help you attract and retain kitchen staff. Upgrade your hood system to help improve ventilation and temperature control, or bring food service to the front of house – like bars or bistros – to promote staff engagement and retention. Staff will become more in tune with resident preferences and can adapt service based on direct feedback. Consider providing free or reduced-cost meals and snacks or offering cooking lessons so staff members can learn new skills that they can bring home.
- Save time with technology – As bundled technology solutions are integrated into communities, they will help cut costs through saving time, reducing paper waste, streamlining workflows and improving operations. Equipment that collects data from resident monitoring devices and automatically populates Electronic Health Records can help increase accuracy and reduce time, letting staff get back to interacting with residents.
Creating alluring staff spaces and providing appealing job perks can help you attract quality staff. Contact us today to learn how we can help you create inviting staff spaces.
Foster a greater sense of belonging with community partnerships
Take advantage of local amenities by partnering with businesses to offer experiential Senior Living. By infusing local favorites, you’ll not only help foster an active lifestyle, but you’ll also become more marketable to your target demographic.
Linking your community to local restaurants and organizations is a great marketing tool. Expanding your network can lead to more word-of-mouth referrals. Senior Living communities should not only be partnering with local hospitals and physicians, but also local clubs and speakers that support the community’s vision. Multipurpose rooms are great places to hold book clubs, performers and events, like wedding receptions or baby showers. Here are some additional ways you can leverage community partnerships for elevated experiences:
- Infuse locality into your community – Artwork is a great way to invite community members to play an active role in your community. Partner with local professional artists or school art programs to provide a rotation of art, or commission pieces that fit your décor. Rethink how you partner with families and guests by providing spaces for multigenerational interactions. Include indoor and outdoor play areas or activity areas where residents and kids can express their creativity.
- Design innovative amenities – Many providers are putting in engaging amenities, like bistros and spas, but sometimes they don’t have the staff or experience to run them. Partnering with a local coffee shop to run the café or bringing in guest chefs is an excellent way to provide engaging experiences and alleviate staffing concerns.
- Take advantage of new technology – Outfit your multipurpose spaces with updated technology to attract outside groups to your community. Updated Wi-Fi, lecterns, wireless microphones and assistive listening devices help accommodate almost any group. Another way to engage the community is by streaming events, like a church service or high school graduation, for seniors who aren’t able to visit in person. This can help residents feel more connected to the greater community.
Partnerships boost your connection to the surrounding community and help you foster active lifestyles for your residents. Our designers can help you attract partnerships by designing appealing spaces. Contact us today to learn more.
Rethink wellness spaces to prepare for baby boomers
When it comes to wellness spaces, it’s time to think outside the box. Today’s wellness spaces are more than just gyms or spas – they’re full-blown experiences. Consider holistic wellness, encompassing the mind, body and spirit, and design amenities that foster comprehensive wellness in your community. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Plan for holistic wellness – Consider how your community’s vision informs what type of amenities you’ll include. An Independent Living community may want to include a Tai Chi studio while a Memory Care community may include podiatry services. At a foundational level, ensuring proper natural light and air quality is especially important in wellness spaces.
- Design for active lifestyles – Infuse in-demand amenities that provide a holistic wellness experience. Amenities may include a music studio, well-appointed library, greenhouse, meditation room or tech center. Consider expanding your current programing to include classes like Pilates or yoga, which can be held in a multipurpose space. Another great way to encourage wellness is by including in-room wellness features, like a personal fitness space in a resident room instead of a desk.
- Create interactive dining areas – Consider including resident-friendly, accessible serving kitchens where residents can prepare a communal meal while engaging all the senses. Many residents will find the motions from chopping, blending and baking calming. Offering more opportunities for outdoor dining helps residents experience the wellness benefits of nature.
- Boost wellness with innovative technology – Look to some of the latest technology innovations for Senior Living to help you meet and exceed the demands of incoming residents and their families. Consider investing in in-room health monitoring technology that simultaneously notifies selected family members and other caregivers of everything from vital signs to emergency situations. Some systems can even remind residents to take their medications and notify selected people if a dosage is missed.
From updating your programming to incorporating new technology, there are a variety of ways to foster holistic wellness. Get inspired by viewing dynamic wellness spaces in our portfolio.
How the Latest Technology Can Enhance Senior Living
As Senior Living technology continues to evolve, it’s important to find ways to use the new technology to improve processes and outcomes in your community. Today’s complete low-voltage technology landscape offers providers an array of solutions to help you improve clinical care outcomes while enhancing staff communication, accountability and workflows.
Today’s technology trends
In a world of rapid change, it is important to keep in touch with technology trends, especially those that can impact Senior Living. At Aptura, the biggest trends we are seeing include:
- Enhanced security – the deployment of electronic access control, video surveillance and wireless locks for robust security needs
- Wireless connectivity – LAN and Wi-Fi networks capable of supporting business, resident and family needs
- Going digital – reduce costs, enhance marketability and empower staff and residents by introducing digital platforms that target communications, fitness and resident engagement
- Smart/connected equipment – leverage emerging IoT products and ideas to solve for clinical and community-based needs
The new look of low-voltage solutions
Today’s technology systems should take into consideration the needs of not only your residents and staff, but also the families, guests and contractors that are all walking in with connected devices. To keep up with this new set of technology demands, low-voltage packages should accommodate:
Does your current technology plan account for these systems? Is your network capable of handling the bandwidth demands needed to keep your residents, staff, families, guests and contractors happy and your systems running at peak performance? Do your systems work together as one ecosystem as much as possible, instead of separate alerting and alarming platforms?
Plan for the future
Approaching the new norm in Senior Living technology can be intimidating and overwhelming. That’s why a consolidated, integrated technology design process is essential. Aptura’s technology design team includes technology designers, systems engineers, project managers and client support experts to help you choose, procure, install and manage the right technology systems for your community’s unique needs.
Contact us today to see how Aptura can create the ideal technology solution for your community »
Market Dynamics Drive Streamlined Project Delivery
New development in Senior Living and Care is a hot topic of conversation among those in the ownership, development or operations of these properties. The profession is balancing two opposing concepts: long-run opportunity tempered by short-run realities. There is no doubt that between now and the early 2030s – when the first baby boomers enter their late-80s – we’ll see growing opportunity. Yet, that opportunity is tempered by short-run realities.
Surging prospective resident growth, all from the Silent Generation
- Population age 75 and older set to grow 75% (21 million to 37 million) by 2032.
- Lifestyles and preferences are expected to mimic baby boomer ideals, especially among the younger Silent Generation.
Demand for personal healthcare and support is growing
- Alzheimer’s cases among those 65 or older expected to grow 34% by 2025 (5.3 million today to 7.1 million in 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Association).
- 70% of the adult population in the United States is either overweight or obese according to the CDC, leading to chronic conditions like high blood pressure, liver disease, kidney disease and diabetes.
Trend toward healthier lifestyles is also growing
- Gym memberships are at an all-time high. In 2016, U.S. fitness centers and gyms had 57.3 million members, 75% growth since 2000, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.
- In 2015, approximately 5% (16 million people) of the US population was either vegetarian or vegan, up from 1% in 2009 according to a Vegetarian Resource Group study.
- Seniors of tomorrow will likely demand access to healthy food, gyms and programming that support a healthy lifestyle and special diets.
Occupancies fall while costs grow
- Annualized growth of 2%-3% in rental rates for Senior Housing properties is negated by cost increases.
- Senior Housing occupancy in NICMAP’s top 100 metro areas fell to 88.6% on its downward trend in the second quarter of 2017 (NICMAP).
- Majority Nursing Care properties fell to 86.3% and are also on a downward trend.
- Absorption, or the change in occupied units, is trending up for both market types.
- Inventory growth is at an all-time high.
Senior Housing occupancies and units absorbed in the top 100 metros
|Age||Occupancy||Units Absorbed, 3Q16-2Q17||Long-Run Absorption Trend|
(Data calculated over the last four quarters by age of property across all stabilization statuses based on 2Q17 data from NICMAP.)
Why might occupancies peak at 10 to 17 years, yet we see notable move-outs?
- At 10 years, a property is also competing with stabilized property 2-to-5 years old.
- A 17-year-old property serves a different generation than the one for which it was built.
- Properties 10 to 17 years old might be stuck in the mud where younger properties see gains.
- Properties aged 17 to 25 years old see a decline in occupancy compared to the previous age bracket but see a notable jump in units absorbed. Perhaps these properties are legends in their local markets, provide higher acuity services compared to younger properties, or attract residents whose friends, spouses, or relatives used to or do live there.
Staffing is a growing concern
It will be more expensive to build new properties because of labor shortages both in care staff and skilled construction workers.
According to our analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data:
- Employment demands in nursing and residential care facilities are expected to grow nearly 28% in the next 10 years.
- Current employment per existing unit is at an all-time low.
- 3% decline in the workforce per existing unit corresponded with a 10% increase average hourly wage.
When factoring in estimated new units over the next 10 years, we expect 48% fewer workers available to staff those units once they become operational.
Staffing challenges are exacerbated by new development
When factoring in estimated new units over the next 10 years, we expect 48% fewer workers available to staff those units once they become operational. The fewer workers there are per unit, the more competitive it is to staff that unit – which drives staffing costs up.
Skilled construction labor is becoming harder to find
- Today there are 57 people employed in trades relevant to the construction of buildings per Senior Living or Care unit started, regardless of building type.
- In 10 years, that number is expected to fall nearly 60% to 23 people per unit started.
So what now?
Senior Living and Care will have to innovate for the younger members of the Silent Generation and baby boomers like it did for the Greatest Generation and older silents. New development and repositioning of existing assets plays a large role in helping the profession evolve with changing aging dynamics.
Planning is a key component in balancing long-run opportunity with short-run realities. Much of that balance is driven by local market dynamics: the right product, at the right time, in the right place. Your local market makes the opportunity, which dictates the financial return.
Design supports the competitiveness and operational efficiency of the property. If revenues are down in the short-run and costs are high and growing, any efficiency in design is essential. Procurement and construction can also affect the financial viability of new projects. Aggregated buying and streamlined project delivery methods can help keep costs low to ensure ROI is realized. Across all phases, there are a number of ways to manage a new development or major repositioning project.
Contact us to find out how Aptura can help you maximize your project’s competitive advantage.
Tailoring your spaces for Baby Boomer tastes
In Senior Living, there is often talk about the incoming Silver Tsunami – the surge of Baby Boomers supposed to enter the market in the coming years. Though the tidal wave hasn’t quite arrived, the industry is already preparing for the millions of Boomers to come, and many providers are seeking strategies to thrive in this new market.
Though roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, many of these younger seniors are hesitant to enter into senior housing – Independent Living or otherwise. This can be attributed to improved healthcare and longer lifespans, but also to the independent nature of Boomers themselves. Remember – this is the generation that grew up during the days of the civil rights movement, Vietnam War protests and Woodstock; Boomers are comfortable bucking norms and setting new trends.
This independent streak informs Boomers’ sensibilities. Whether looking for Independent Living condominiums for themselves or a Skilled Nursing suite for a parent, many Boomers are searching for something other than traditional senior communities. Many developers are working to market communities across the spectrum of care to adult children. In this instance, the right amenities, décor and atmosphere are key to capturing that business.
With many communities working to tailor themselves to Boomer tastes now – even though many are only interacting with the space as adult children – they can start to build for success in the future. The right choices can help make these residences more appealing and comfortable to the demanding Baby Boomer generation when they decide to enter the market as residents.
The secrets to designing communities that feel like a part of the neighborhood
When it comes to creating welcoming communities, it’s about more than just beautiful finishes and a comfortable atmosphere. Today’s seniors want to feel at home where they live. And for developers and care providers, creating a locally-inspired community can help distinguish a residence from nearby competition. Aptura’s team of award-winning designers specializes in incorporating local flair into communities and making them feel like a part of the neighborhood. Here’s how they create locally-focused spaces.
Choosing the right materials can really ground a specific design esthetic and set the stage for the right design. Aptura’s design team seeks to make residents feel at home by choosing materials that suit the space. At Élan Southpark Meadows in Austin, Texas, our team laid the foundation for the community’s modern rustic feel by using local Texas limestone and roughhewn wood beams.
Similarly, the right color palette can also establish a sense of place for residents. In Vancouver, many residents are familiar with the West Coast Modern feel. One of the hallmarks of this mid-century meets coastal style is bright colors meshed with neutral accents. Inside Inside Amica at Edgemont Village in North Vancouver, Aptura’s designers incorporated tangerine, cornflower and citrine throughout the space along with natural stone and wood tones. These vibrant colors reflect the city’s signature style and immediately welcome residents and guests. Amy Holland, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for BayBridge Senior Living, says, “Aptura is able to capture the local culture and reflect it back through the designs. When our residents and their families see how their neighborhoods are portrayed, they say, ‘I just love what you’ve done – it’s perfect.’”
Fabrics & Furnishings
Creating that spot-on feeling goes beyond choosing the right color palette. The right fabrics, finishes and furnishings can go a long way in developing a space. For St. Anthony’s Gardens, a community just outside New Orleans, our designers tapped into the area’s French roots to develop a sense of belonging. Inspired by antique textiles, our team created a custom carpet for the community’s dining room and echoed those French touches – including fleur de lis motifs and chintz fabrics – throughout the space to create an atmosphere familiar to New Orleans residents.
Artwork & Decorative Accents
To complete a space where residents can feel at home, the right finishing touches are essential. In Colorado, our designers embraced the stunning mountains and rugged landscape to create a modern take on a ski lodge. In the Healthcare Resort of Colorado Springs dining room, Aptura installed mural-sized photographs of nearby Pikes Peak and other breathtaking vistas – all to mirror the area–s natural beauty. Designers included other sophisticated yet rustic touches throughout the community, like bronze busts of local wildlife and frontier-inspired signage.
Realign your goals to meet 2017's biggest challenges
The beginning of each year is a time for reflection and planning for the future. This year, consider the changes sweeping the industry – from evolving payment models to shifting demographics – as you refocus your plans for 2017. Strategically realigning your business for the upcoming year can help you seize critical opportunities while preparing for what lies ahead.
One of the most significant changes facing Senior Living providers is healthcare reform. As the field changes, this industry becomes a more critical component of the senior care spectrum. Savvy operators are looking to expand their offerings within the continuum of care and are leveraging their market credibility to attract residents and partnerships with healthcare systems.
To develop strong partnerships with these hospitals, communities must carefully monitor patient transitions and resident outcomes while retooling operation models and embracing new technology. With low rehospitalization rates and positive outcomes, your community can become a preferred partner of hospitals. These associations can help you not only grow your business but allow you to share in Medicare reimbursement.
Alongside the shifts in the acute care environment, the future holds the potential for more private pay residents. These residents are unique. Many desire to age in place – challenging operators to expand their care levels and incorporate programs that meet the needs of these residents.
Additionally, many private pay individuals are seeking communities with more hospitality-style amenities and services. Consider adding destination spaces to your community, like casual bistros that can serve up café-style coffee in the morning and happy hour specials at night. Residents may also appreciate a theater room, salon or exercise studio. Along with stylish finishes and décor, you can create an inviting, in-demand atmosphere for the next generation of seniors.
With these changes in mind, it's wise to refocus for 2017. The Senior Living industry is evolving, and it's crucial for designers, operators and developers to embrace the changes ahead – from shifting demographics to changes in payment models to updates in the healthcare system.
Feel fresh with healthy dining options
More than ever, Senior Living is being inspired by the hospitality industry. Recently, many communities have been taking cues from popular fresh and farm-to-table style restaurants to offer residents healthful, inspired options. See how you can incorporate healthy, seasonal options into your dining program to channel hospitality style.
Use streamlined merchandising displays to show off attractive meal and snack options, like fruit, fresh-made sandwiches and bakery. Opt for heated or refrigerated cases to fit your community's needs. An eye-catching display is perfect for providing healthy options and can help you provide fast, efficient service.
Serving Kitchens in Assisted Living
Make seniors feel at home with a residential-style kitchen. You'll find that just like in any home, a comfortable kitchen can be the heart of your community. Complete with cookware and serveware, residents are welcome to entertain or stir up their favorite fresh recipes in these welcoming spaces.
Display colorful, fresh ingredients in an exciting display kitchen. Showing off crisp veggies and seasonal produce is an attractive way to appeal to residents' appetites while offering healthy options. Best of all – residents can enjoy customizing their own salads, sandwiches, pizzas and more while watching their meals being prepared right before their eyes.
Short-Term Rehabilitation Cafés
Expand your fresh and healthy meal options into short-term rehabilitation spaces as well. Additions like a salad prep station or a rapid cook oven can provide goodness-filled meals and snacks to your short-stay residents.
3 ways to give your residents added privacy
Though most residents may appreciate group activities and bustling common areas, there is a desire – especially among the new generation of seniors – for more privacy in their communities. This demand for intimate spaces, however, does not mean you have to sacrifice the open, comfortable spaces that make your community unique. A few design tricks and additions are all you need to create these quiet spaces.
To create cozier conversation spaces in your community, simply start by rearranging furniture into smaller groupings. For example, you can easily separate a large lobby into unique zones including a reception area for visitors, a small bistro and several small lounge areas. All it takes is some thoughtful arrangement of your furniture. By strategically grouping seating, you can create more intimate spaces while visually dividing the room to create a feeling of privacy.
Lighting & Drapery
Employ creative lighting to help divide large spaces. Overhead lighting can provide the brightness your common areas need, but the use of accent lighting in seating areas and reading nooks can cast an inviting glow. This feeling of warmth and welcoming is precisely what many residents are seeking in their secluded spaces.
And don't underestimate how useful drapery and window treatments can be in providing a sense of intimacy. Drapes can be used to temporarily divide a room while also helping to absorb distracting sound. By minimizing background noises, you can provide your residents with the quiet, comfortable spaces they desire.
For truly private spaces, make use of unique architectural elements, like decorative glass or acrylic panels. These pieces add stylish flair to your common areas while giving your residents a feeling of privacy. Best of all – these versatile pieces don't enclose a room entirely, so you still have the flexibility needed to maintain your dynamic community.
Intimacy does not require you to sacrifice openness – only to modify it. With the right additions, you can easily modify your community to provide seniors with the privacy they desire while maintaining useful and impactful multi-function spaces.
3 ways to infuse new traditional design into Senior Living
As life continues to become more fast-paced and contemporary, there's a renewed desire in our consumer-centric world for traditional elements that speak to craftsmanship, history and heritage. It's no different in architecture and interiors, resulting in a new traditional aesthetic that combines tactile, classic details with modern conveniences and advances in technology.
New traditional design is a popular trend in residential and hospitality environments that's easy to incorporate into Senior Living. Here are just a few ways we infuse the aesthetic into our designs:
Add furniture and art that feature quality craftsmanship and timeless design.
- Paintings, prints and unconventional custom art – like parquet-style wood on the walls or unique casework details – give a nod to a wide range of artisans
- Bespoke furniture infuses a sense of craftsmanship into the space
- Include unique, authentic or locally sourced furniture or artwork as an accent or focal point
Brass & Glass
In furniture and lighting, incorporating brass and glass details provide a beautiful contrast to painted and wood surfaces.
The sleek combo pays homage to cherished antiques and historical designs. Burnished and soft, the new brass is more elegant than brass accents of the past.
Details, Details, Details
Small details that combine historical character and modern design complete this aesthetic. Consider including:
- Wood and metal accents in architectural elements, millwork and fireplace surrounds
- Contemporary versions of millwork, especially in crown, panel and applied moldings
- Decorative nailhead on bar fronts
- Etched glass accents
- Mosaic tile work
- Attention to detail in furnishings, such as nailhead, contrast welts, and intricate trim and tape on drapery
Get ahead of the curve: 2017 color trends
It's only fall, but we're already looking forward to 2017 and what's next for design – especially what's ahead in the world of color. Coming up, we're picturing not just a “color of the year” but rather emerging palette trends that are as varied as they are exciting.
This coming year, designers are embracing calming, neutral palettes with a modern twist. Gone are basic eggshell whites and beige – instead comforting tones like lush cream, sage, dusty blue and even muted coral are coming onto the scene in stylish spaces.
Bring life to your community with a fresh and feisty color scheme. Shades of red and gold peppered with violet, cerulean and bright white set the stage for engaging interactions. These vibrant shades are the perfect addition to more subdued spaces and are best incorporated as accent pieces and in artwork with crisp, clear images. Depending on your selections, a high-contrast color palette can be especially appealing and helpful to aging eyes.
Bring some international flair into resident spaces with colors inspired by exotic destinations. Incorporating shades like mustard, ocean blue and vibrant crimson are a great way to bring warmth into your community and complement creative, travel-inspired designs. This unique palette will have residents dreaming of faraway places from the comfort of their own community.
Looking for what's next in interiors? Time to look back
Looking at today's design landscape, technology's influence is evident. More and more spaces are filled with sleek furnishings and streamlined architecture, creating a cool and distinctly modern feel. However, in the midst of this contemporary craze, a reactionary aesthetic has emerged: a return to more classic elements. These aren't your typical styles from years gone by, though. Think of this aesthetic as traditional reinvented.
This design perspective gained traction within the past decade, beginning with the “Maker Movement.” This movement was pioneered by tech-savvy millennials with an appreciation for the handmade and baby boomers with eclectic experiences and an eye for quality craftsmanship. These multi-generational influencers helped make DIY trendy again, and many of these artisans drew inspiration from timeworn pieces from their past. As a result, heritage-steeped items gained a new life that's inspiring a shift toward a renewal of traditional style.
For interiors, this style means returning to familiar shapes and patterns, but with a unique spin. Perhaps this is upholstering a classic wing chair in an unexpected fabric or showcasing priceless, time-tested photos in a unique way. These vintage-made-new pieces are ideal for Senior Living because they are at once familiar to residents but are updated to suit a more modern lifestyle.
This fresh take on tradition also relies on incorporating vintage-inspired pieces for enduring style. Creating this feeling of history and nostalgia can be achieved by displaying artwork that looks as though it's been collected over a lifetime or incorporating antiques that inspire fond memories for residents.
This new traditional aesthetic helps create a comfortable environment for seniors that tells, not only the story of where we've come from, but where we're headed.
How design impacts your bottom line
Differentiate your community from competitors, increase referrals, and attract and retain high quality staff with resident-focused, high-impact design. Follow these tips to help make sure your community's design supports your bottom line.
Marketability | Incorporate local culture into your community – like locally inspired cuisine or artwork depicting nearby landmarks – to amp up marketability and appeal to prospective residents and families. The building's aesthetic should blend seamlessly with the surrounding community. For example, if the community is located near the ocean, a light and airy color palette would be appropriate. Providing appealing workspaces can also help attract qualified staff.
Creating wellness spaces that go beyond the traditional gym can also boost marketability. Consider bringing group wellness activities outdoors to help residents stay active and set your community apart.
New consumerism | Resident-centric design helps staff meet residents' ever-changing needs. Communities should consider each resident's lifestyle preferences to tailor the experience. For example, one resident may prefer to dine outdoors when the weather is nice, while another may only want to dine indoors. Providing options to accommodate each unique resident will improve resident satisfaction, which can lead to referrals.
Operational efficiencies | Consider incorporating shared, multiuse spaces for ultimate operational efficiency. A café in the morning could become a pub in the evening, allowing communities to maximize square footage while offering residents diverse experiences. This concept also keeps the space active and vibrant throughout the day.
Going digital: Why design boards are fading away
The way designers, developers and operators communicate with existing and potential clients is rapidly changing. This is especially true in how we showcase our designs. While physical design boards were once the industry standard, the rise of digital platforms, the way we communicate with clients and the need to share our vision with a wider audience drives us to new solutions.
Innovative technologies make it easier than ever to holistically communicate concepts. Photorealistic renderings and portable virtual reality platforms allow us to easily showcase what we're envisioning for the community.
While we embrace new technology as a way to show our vision, there's something about seeing and feeling fabric, flooring and paint choices that you can't get digitally. Design boards are still useful tools to show renovation plans to current residents. Staff can create buzz around the renovation and gain resident buy-in by showing a design board, which offers residents a chance to see and feel how their home will change in the upcoming renovation.
Here comes the sun: Summer design trends we love
Now that summer is in full swing, we're longing for backyard BBQs, lazy beach days and a more relaxed dining style with fresher menu options. Providing spaces for residents to enjoy all summer can help improve the resident experience. Here are some of the ways we infuse summertime living into our designs:
Outdoor dining | Offer plenty of outdoor dining space for alfresco dining. Fire up the grill for a BBQ, or find checkerboard tablecloths and pack picnic lunches to mix up mealtime. Providing comfortable outdoor seating offers residents a space to enjoy a beverage or relax with family and friends while soaking up the sun.
Infuse color | Play off the colors of nature in full bloom with bold table settings to make mealtimes pop. Offer vibrant meals with produce that spans the colors of the rainbow. We love how readily available local fresh fruits and veggies are in the summer!
Community gardens | Engage residents outdoors with a community garden. Tending to flowers and vegetable plants is great for physical activity and social interaction. Plus, there's nothing better than eating fresh, homegrown produce.
Consumer preferences shape demand in the Senior Living market
Consumerism is a huge economic force – one so powerful that the St. Louis Federal Reserve determined that it accounts for nearly 70% of the nation's GDP. The term often references the purchasing of more and more stuff, but consumerism is not so simple. A more accurate definition is matching the tastes and preferences of consumers with the goods and services offered by providers – and this implies a human element. This human element impacts opportunity across markets.
Senior Living is consumer-driven, and most demand metrics assume a sort of homogenous Senior Living community market. At the surface this seems like a fair assumption, as all these communities offer some level of assistance with activities of daily living, care and recreation. However, when you think a little more carefully you realize that not all these housing options are the same and not all preferences are the same – again the human element comes into play. Similar to how some people may prefer a sturdy SUV to a sporty convertible or a top-of-the-line luxury car to a standard sedan, seniors prefer some communities to others.
And that preference, as well as the various Senior Living options, can often be neglected by standard demand studies. By these more standard metrics, certain markets may seem to be oversaturated, but consumer preference may dictate that a more niche community could find success or even a different type of Senior Living community altogether – perhaps Assisted Living versus Skilled Nursing. Once the intricacies of the market are teased out of the more general data, one could find that a high-end community may do well in a sea of value-based communities or vice versa. Or perhaps unique amenities might draw attention from more traditional options. Accurately matching your facility with consumer's preferences requires a great understanding of your housing product, consumers in potential markets and existing providers.
Locality is key for creating a comfortable, familiar environment
Feeling at home is paramount in Senior Living communities, and feeling at home in one's hometown is just as important. Aptura can help you put locality first in your new construction or renovation project.
We begin by studying the area and demographic you are trying to attract. This starts broadly by asking what a city is known for and what it takes pride in. We then learn more about an area's atmosphere with an in-person visit, taking note of what cultural activities are popular, what sorts of businesses choose to operate there and what other healthcare options are available. This valuable information tells our team what is most important in the community and to your potential clientele.
We bring our research into the design. This can be as easy as updating artwork to reflect local landmarks or updating naming and signage to be neighborhood specific. For Élan Westpointe in New Braunfels, TX, our designers focused on creating a beautiful mural of community-centric images. Our team also worked to design an attractive beer garden to serve as a lively gathering area and to honor the city's German roots. Locality can be referenced more subtly as well with patterns and finishes. A coastal property, for example, might lend itself to an airy color palette and rattan textures. These design elements can really speak to residents and make them feel comfortable.
The local element of Aptura designs can set communities apart and make them more inviting for residents and their families.
Embrace flexibility to prepare for changing Senior Living dynamics
The Senior Living industry is seeing its most significant transformation in decades. Advances in medicine, shifting Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement models, technology integration, staffing challenges and changing demographics are all factors driving this evolution. To prepare for expected and unexpected industry changes, your community will need to embrace flexibility in your operational models and facility designs.
Currently, the largest changes have been the growth of a consumer- and payment-driven senior care market, higher acuity in Assisted Living facilities and development of enhanced Memory Care models. Stay ahead of the curve by hiring and training staff that will be able to care for residents with varying acuity levels.
There's also been significant growth in the number of Assisted Living, Memory Care and short-term Skilled Nursing beds while demand for beds in traditional Skilled Nursing facilities is down. Explore creating rooms that can adapt across care models to help residents age in place.
Another way to embrace the changing environment is to furnish resident rooms, rehabilitation centers and common areas with adaptable equipment that can flex to meet your residents' changing needs. Designing and creating facilities with an eye toward a changing Senior Living dynamic will help you plan for long-term success.
Incorporate amenities and activities that foster meaningful experiences
One of the biggest trends in Senior Living is building a community with a focus on intelligent lifestyles. Seniors are living healthier and longer, meaning communities will need to provide residents with the experiences and amenities that let them continue leading active lives.
Offering various programs and amenities lets residents choose what they're interested in, giving them a personalized experience. Below are a few elements of intelligent design.
Hospitality | Focus on incorporating amenities commonly found in the hospitality industry. For many adults, peak emotional experiences can happen at restaurants and hotels. Blending the sought-after features of these destinations with Senior Living offers residents those same emotional experiences at home.
Multiuse spaces | The places where people eat, read, think and gather are merging, due to the continued convergence of public and private space. That creates the need for flexible, multiuse spaces, such as a bistro that is used for meals during the day and as a lounge or bar at night. This trend can be beneficial for communities, as they are often trying to maximize revenue-generating square footage while still adding desired amenities.
Wellness | Wellness has been – and will continue to be – a focus for Senior Living. Consider taking wellness to the next level with in-room wellness features, like substituting a personal fitness space in a resident room for a desk.
Locality | Many baby boomers are well traveled. Bring some of the aspects of traveling – different flavors, colors, sounds, smells and textures – to your community by incorporating local culture and heritage. Consider tying in local cuisine, art and other cultural icons to help residents continue to explore the surrounding area.
Incorporating an intelligent, experiential design in your community can help foster meaningful experiences and interactions for residents to help them live life to the fullest.
Elevate your community with functional grab-and-go markets
Infusing on-trend amenities from the hospitality industry into an Assisted Living or Independent Living community is a surefire way to impress potential residents and their families. Consider adding a convenient grab-and-go market to create that desired hospitality feel.
Markets are often implemented as a combination coffee shop and mini grocery store. Not only does this amenity offer residents an option for picking up small grocery items, it also provides an area for residents to meet up with other residents or guests. Plus, markets help prevent residents from having to rely on family members for basic groceries, or from having to go to the store themselves.
Pairing a small store with a coffee shop allows communities to make the most of shared staff and equipment, making this an appealing, cost-effective option. In today's changing industry, providing a sought-after amenity like a grab-and-go market can make your community an attractive choice for prospective residents.
Improve resident care outcomes with wireless data sensors
Advances in technology mean it's easier than ever to integrate technology solutions into Senior Living communities. For example, many communities are now able to bring more resident information online using a wireless network, allowing staff to make data-driven care decisions for improved outcomes.
Wireless sensors are able to capture data on vitals, activity, movement and safety, offering staff real-time information quickly and easily. Not only can wireless sensors identify when a resident leaves a bed or chair unassisted, potentially preventing a fall, but they can also alert staff when a resident's health fluctuates or an atypical resident behavior is detected. In addition, motion and temperature sensors can be installed to easily monitor living spaces.
Capturing this data allows staff to generate reports that give them a holistic look at their facilities and the care they provide. This information can also indicate where they may need to make changes, and can lead them to better implement preventive care. Aptura has the tools and knowledge to help you install an efficient and beneficial wireless network system.
Leverage the latest technology for better resident and staff experiences
Integrated, tech-savvy solutions that bring people together both inside and outside your community are becoming a must-have in today's competitive Senior Living marketplace.
In the wake of this demand, Community Connect platforms are a growing trend. These platforms use TV, tablet and smart phone interfaces to help foster resident independence, quality of life and social engagement by connecting residents to community events, loved ones and staff more easily than ever.
Here are some of the benefits a Community Connect solution can bring to your community.
Promote Heath & Happiness
- Enhance resident independence with the newest technology that connects residents to community events and important family interactions
- Minimize isolationism by keeping residents engaged with staff members, loved ones and fellow residents
Reduce Operating Costs
- Reduced paper waste, streamlined workflows, operational efficiencies, staff time savings and bundled IT services all add up to help your bottom line
- Innovative and accessible technology is a big factor in meeting and exceeding the demands of incoming residents and their families
Senior Housing News showcases the intersection of hospitality and Senior Living
Recently, Senior Housing News highlighted how common amenities and designs found in the hospitality sector are being seen in Senior Living communities now more than ever.
Leaders in the hospitality field are bringing their knowledge and experiences to Senior Living to improve the atmosphere and operations of the communities. Aptura's Jeanna Korbas, Vice President of Design, explains the lessons she's learned working in hospitality that can help Senior Living designers create unique, efficient environments for residents.
Senior Housing News shines the development spotlight on Milwaukee!
In a recent article, Senior Housing News explored how developers are addressing market demands in the Milwaukee Metropolitan area, where opportunities for Senior Living appear to be ripe.
Aptura's own Gaurie Rodman, Director of Development Services, weighs in on how Aptura-designed HarborChase of Shorewood – opening soon – addresses these demands.
Top 3 market considerations to boost your rehabilitation program
Successfully aligning your rehabilitation program with the market requires an understanding of three market characteristics:
- What type of patient care do the hospitals in your market specialize in?
Some hospitals may specialize in certain care areas and, as a result, attract more patients requiring that care type over another. For example, the majority of post-acute needs from a hospital specializing in joint replacements will be different than a hospital specializing in cardiac care. Understanding the top reasons for hospitalization provides a great starting point for developing your rehabilitation program.
- Who receives the most discharges from the hospitals in your market?
Knowing who receives the most discharges from your target market's hospitals allows you to complement their services or identify areas of competitive advantage. This is especially important in light of the third characteristic.
- What hospitals are being penalized?
Hospitals penalized for excessive readmissions present an opportunity to craft a rehabilitation program around their pain points. Perhaps such a hospital is discharging significant patients to a home health agency or inpatient rehabilitation facility that isn't providing the correct quality care. Tailoring a rehabilitation program to the market's needs allows you to find a niche, solve hospitals' pain points and deliver quality care to the market's seniors.
Aptura's market analysts can help you discover how to align your rehabilitation program with market considerations for increased ROI and better resident and patient outcomes.
Aptura Designers Meg Sutton and Jan Crain win the ASID WI Gold Award for Wellbrooke of Westfield design
We're excited to announce that Aptura's Meg Sutton and Jan Crain won this year's ASID Wisconsin Gold Award for their Wellbrooke of Westfield design. This industry-leading Senior Living building located in Wellbrooke, Indiana was also recognized by Senior Housing News, capturing the 2014 Best Skilled Nursing Building of the Year.
As a Senior Interior Designer, Meg Sutton along with Senior Foodservice Consultant Jan Crain led the Wellbrooke of Westfield project to success by applying exemplary design that met the client's aesthetic and operational goals. This is another great example of how Aptura creates life-enhancing environments for seniors, families and caregivers.
5 Best Senior Living Designs from the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
The International CES is the world's gathering place for consumer technologies. Held in Las Vegas every year, it is the epicenter of innovations and breakthrough technologies, showcasing more than 3,600 exhibitors and hosting more than 150,000 attendees from over 140 countries.
Direct Supply sent a team of technology and Senior Living experts, including some of Aptura's technology leaders, to uncover ideas that could positively impact the future of technology for Senior Living.
Explore some of the most innovative emerging technologies our experts saw at CES – some are available today and others will be coming your way soon – and discover the difference they could make in your community.
1. Health & Behavior Sensors
New innovators showcased existing and emerging technologies that allow seniors and caregivers to capture vital signs, behaviors, activities of daily living and other health metrics in real time. Fueling the growing demand and adoption of the Internet of Things, these devices can also transfer that data to electronic medical records and alert caregivers and families regarding any significant trends and deviations – allowing for efficient care plan updates to best serve the individuals' health.
2. Community Connect
These senior-friendly interfaces connect seniors with family, friends and caregivers located inside and outside of the community. Via tablets, smartphones, TVs or traditional PCs, these systems give control to residents, allowing them to engage in video chats with their families, order meals or room service, schedule amenity services like physical therapy or spa treatments, and sign up for activities like bingo or a trip to the mall. This technology can help remedy isolationism by giving residents the tools they need to easily connect to the people and lifestyle they desire.
Wearables are computing devices that a user can wear – most commonly a “smart watch” that allows the user to manage their calendar, surf the web, send text messages, and track sleep and activity levels. It's easy to imagine the benefits of tracking activity levels, sleep trends, heart rate and more in real-time throughout the day in a Senior Living setting. While challenges like low battery life, designs not friendly to seniors and a lack of integration with key wireless systems currently exist, research and innovation investment is happening, including pilots of several technologies that could make these devices a reality in Senior Living.
4. Smart Home Automation
Through the use of readily available, inexpensive technologies you can check if your doors are locked, ensure that your kids are safe in their rooms, and get an alert if any of those things change right from your smart phone. Imagine how those technologies could impact the care you could provide in an Assisted Living, Independent Living or Home Care setting. These systems are available today and can allow you to know that a senior is safe, that their stove is off, their refrigerator is closed, the air conditioner is working properly and that they are present in the building.
5. 3D Printing
3D printing creates a full three-dimensional physical object, usually by laying down (i.e., printing) many thin layers of a material. Typically, 3D printing has been used to create a rapid prototype of a new product before creating the tools and machines to manufacture it. As a result, prototypes can be completed in hours, not weeks, and at a fraction of the cost. Imagine the implication for new construction projects. In the future, instead of labor-intensive cardboard models of new buildings, 3D prints would allow us to more efficiently share a full-color scaled model of your project.
Our experts can help you leverage the latest technology in your community. Call 1-888-876-0987 to get started today!
Aptura captures two 2014 Senior Housing News Design Awards
For the second year in a row, Direct Supply® Aptura® garnered recognition for their industry-leading designs from Senior Housing News. We are proud to announce that Wellbrooke of South Bend was awarded Best Skilled Nursing Building of the Year by Senior Housing News. Notably, Aptura's design for Evergreen Crossing & The Lofts was awarded runner up in the same category.
The awards are determined by the best use of innovative design that creates life-enhancing environments for America's seniors. Learn more about Aptura's proven design approach.
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2015 Senior Living Design Trends
Trend #1 Baby Boomers are Redefining Aging
Incoming baby boomers have different expectations of technology and healthcare environments. As a result, this highly educated and independent group is redefining aging with higher expectations of services. This creates incredible opportunities for developing new Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities with in-demand, marketable amenities. Senior Housing facility portfolios need to seize these opportunities and evolve to keep up. Aptura has the tools and experience to help you create distinctive, lasting enhancements to your portfolio to meet the needs of the baby-boomer population.
Trend #2: Experiential Design
Your community's environment has a huge impact on how people interact. Experiential design must not only support a community's operational and aesthetic goals, but also create an experience that fosters more meaningful interactions between caregivers, family members and residents. Invite residents to live life to the fullest through wellness, fitness, dining and learning. In today's competitive marketplace, living spaces that create life enrichment through meaningful interaction are critical in a community's success.
Trend #3: Exhibition-Style Kitchens
Display cooking is a great way to wow residents and guests and stimulate appetites. Made-to-order dishes also offer the choice and selection expected at restaurants, giving these areas the feel of a dining-out destination. Place a gas-fired pizza oven center stage, or create a build-your-own omelet station staffed with chefs to complete the experience. There are many options you can add to your dining program to create a standout experience for your residents and their families.
Trend #4: Robust Technology Integration
As technology continues to evolve, more and more valuable tools are becoming accessible options for Senior Living environments, including technology that helps with reporting, clinical insights, cloud-based data management, wander management, emergency calling and much, much more. Integrating technology throughout your community for seamless operations can be a daunting but rewarding task. Aptura has experience creating robust, comprehensive integration strategies for technology design that creates a better quality of life for your residents and staff.
Explore our design center. Engage our experts. Plan your visit!
Hundreds of our customers visit Aptura's product design center every year, and they consistently tell us that it's one of the most important business trips they've taken. Just let us know when you would like to visit us and we'll plan all the details.