Can we influence Seniors’ well being with a well designed environment?
Do you walk into a medical space or assisted living facility and feel differently according to its décor, ease of use and clarity of direction and traffic pattern? Will the space give your loved one the security, safety and confidence to enjoy their stay?
As I enter the space I am about to design, I am struck once again by life in a nursing home. Why is life so difficult and even more so as we age? My husband contends that we should start life out in old age so we can truly appreciate our youth.
I am of course aware of the affects of aging, having studied and now presenting on the topic. The facility I am visiting is considered a wonderful place where the residents seem happy and those who are able, enjoy the many available activities.
Architects and designers have a wealth of accumulated resources at our disposal: Evidence Based Design is a treasure trove of proven methods and solutions. This was initiated by the healthcare industry to improve outcomes in their medical facilities. Projects are studied and results analyzed to provide us with results that guide us in our quest to best practices and more affective design.
As a result, you may have realized changes in the settings and furnishings in your doctor’s office or local hospital. A more comfortable wait space helps alleviate stress prior to visiting with your health professional or undergoing any medical testing. TV Monitors, magazines, fairly prompt scheduling and childrens’ areas keep you and your family occupied and relaxed. The visit is then more calm allowing for a more productive and thoughtful visit.
We have learned for example that access to natural light and a view to the outdoors contributes positively to the healing process and gives us a feeling of wellness. The studies have even shown that a stay in a hospital room with access to natural daylight shortened the ultimate duration of time needed in the hospital. I try to capitalize on all windows and outdoor areas leaving empty spaces available for people to approach and enjoy the view whether by foot or by wheelchair.
We are aware of the impairments inherent in an aging population and we strive to compensate for them in order to keep the residents happy and engaged. Poor vision and hearing or the fear of walking along a certain path can make a resident choose to NOT partake in the amenities and activities of the facility contributing to solitude and depression. Good lighting and brighter colors assist in combating their diminished vision. The unsteady walk along with walkers and wheelchairs require unobstructed and clear traffic paths with proper railings and seating along the way for resting. Specific fire rated and anti-bacterial fabrics are needed for the health and safety of the residents along with finishes that resist staining to maintain the design quality of the facility, thereby offering the most pleasant home living experience.
Aging is difficult – decisions about the care and living arrangements of an aging loved is difficult. I know what I need to address in this nursing facility and my thoughts are racing on how to give these residents and their guests the most comfortable and safe environment so that they can continue to enjoy life!
Are you looking to renovate a medical facility, assisted living or nursing facility or maybe a home to accommodate an aging loved one?
Call me, Pat Valentine Ziv, a New Jersey Certified Interior Designer to assist you.
telephone: 201 233-4636 e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org