Seniors Housing Business

AUG-SEP 2018

Seniors Housing Business is the magazine that helps you navigate the evolution of the seniors housing industry.

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www.seniorshousingbusiness.com 51 August-September 2018 n Seniors Housing Business neighbors of all ages. Retailers like Aveda and Starbucks are showing up in some new communities, par- ticularly as seniors housing moves out of the suburbs and exurbs and into downtowns. Inclusion even extends to staff. Designers report that owners are increasingly asking for upgraded spaces for staff members, an effort to boost morale, improve perfor- mance and decrease turnover. The F Word Regardless of whether it's an active adult community or a mem- ory care residence, some themes carry throughout. The connec- tion between indoor and outdoor spaces is much more detectable in today's model than in the fortress- like look of yesterday's "facility." Some design firms still use the "facility" word referring to the "residence." Other designers even bristle at the word "seniors." "I think we need to find a new word," says Diana Spellman, president of St. Louis, Missouri- based Spellman Brady & Co. "The connotation of the word does not define this population accurately. We are noticing that continuing care retirement communities have already started to change to life plan communities. Boomers won't stand to be called 'seniors.' They are younger in spirit, active and vibrant, and want their communi- ties to reflect those qualities." For Banko, hotel and traditional multifamily trends are the best models to follow as the seniors industry prepares to welcome baby boomers. "We want our final product to remind people of the beautiful hospitality spaces they've visited or stayed in before. We're on the forefront of making senior living communities not look like senior living communities. Seniors today are demanding more sophisticated and design-driven communities." Spellman says her firm is busy creating spaces that are engaging and interactive. "As designers, we are passionate about creat- ing homelike spaces for engaging activities and experiences." For example, Spellman Brady & Co. completed the reposition- ing of Kingswood Senior Living in Kansas City in July 2017. The firm worked alongside an architect and the developer to build new ven- ues of amenity space, such as an outdoor kitchen and fireplace and rooftop garden. "These special amenity spaces pay for themselves in added rev- enue through higher occupancy," Spellman says. "Owners realize they need these amenity spaces to stay competitive in the market and for retaining staff." Jeanna Korbas, vice president of design with Aptura, also is cre- ating spaces that aren't so classi- cally "seniors." For example, she reports a waning preference for rehab gyms in independent living and lower-acuity environments in favor of a more straightforward fit- ness amenity. "The boomers are going to want to age in place for as long as they can," she says. "The clinical piece is secondary. Yes, they need care, but they also have a lifestyle they want to maintain. There's a totally different mentality as to why people are choosing to move into these communities." Communities and service According to Brooke Mays, product designer at Temple, Texas- based Wilsonart Engineered Sur- faces, senior communities today are placing a high value on being connected to neighbors. "Senior living campuses are choosing loca- tions near existing community amenities or building public retail, restaurants and entertainment into their own facilities." In the spirit of including the public, community amenity spaces are being designed to be more outward-facing. Karla Jackson, design director at Austin, Texas- based StudioSIX5, says many new ground-up communities or rede- velopments feature bistros, salons or coffee shops that have a front entry to welcome passersby so that residents don't feel disconnected from the surrounding city. "We have one community with an Aveda salon, where people can come in from outside and have their hair and nails done right next to a resident," says Jackson. "We're seeing more big-name retailers like Aveda coming in. The salons are not the beauty or barber shops of yesterday." Good service itself is becom- ing its own amenity, and design is keeping pace with that trend, too. Highly engaged, concierge-level service is in demand, while the tal- ent pool is small and retention can be difficult for some operators. Jackson says her team is pay- ing closer attention to the details in the staff's environment, such as more ergonomic workstations and a greater attention to detail in the space and style of employee areas. "No longer can you have the employee lunchroom in some dark, windowless corner in the basement," says Brenda J. Bacon co-founder, president and CEO of Mount Laurel, New Jersey-based Brandywine Living. "It doesn't work." Brandywine opened a new com- "We had to change the way families view our properties." — Jesse Marinko, president and CEO, Phoenix Senior Living Furnishings that don't sacrifice style for sterility Furniture in seniors housing communities has to be durable, while also meeting today's rigorous design standards. According to Jodi Fazio, director of market- ing for Atlanta-based health care and senior furniture manufacturer Kwalu, modern senior living communities will soon be on par with hospitals in their commitment to create bacteria-free environments. Kwalu has been designing for seniors environments for more than 35 years. "We've witnessed that as acuity levels rise, more seniors require canes and wheelchairs to aid their mobility," says Fazio. "Furniture must be able to take a beating but not look like it." "Wood furniture does not age well," she continues. "It shows every bump and bruise. And wood does not measure up to the fre- quent and often harsh cleanings of modern senior living environments." Kwalu's furniture is made of a solid surface that can't harbor bacteria and doesn't wither under stringent cleaning. The challenge is keeping these kinds of envi- ronments stylish. "Seniors housing communities strive to achieve the look of high-end hotels, but they also want hospital-room cleanability," says Fazio. Products and furnishings have evolved in the past 15 years thanks to many manufac- turers, says Karla Jackson, design director of Austin, Texas-based StudioSIX5. "There just weren't that many materials that would hold up to the demands of the senior population," she says. "Now, manufacturers have gotten on board with fabrics and chair frames, flooring and wall coverings that all look hospitality- worthy. We don't have to put plastic on the chairs anymore." StudioSIX5 also works with manufactur- ers to develop furniture designs that combine style with senior ergonomics, as well as with carpet manufacturers to tweak the durability of flooring products. Diana Spellman, president of St. Louis, Mis- souri-based Spellman Brady & Co., says her goal with furnishings and artwork is for an observer to be unable to tell where the architecture stops and the furnishings begin. Her firm represents and procures products from more than 400 furniture manufacturers and artists. Spellman herself, who has specialized in planning and design of seniors hous- ing since 1991, works with owners on developing a financial model for budgeting furnishings and artwork. It requires planning furnishings with and around archi- tectural elements in addition to meeting the operator's goals for use of the space. "Furnishings, fixtures and artwork are very important aspects of the experience in the space," she says. "Those are the items that greet you. It's what everyone sees and touches and feels." — Lynn Peisner Diana Spellman Spellman Brady & Co.

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