by Lynne Katzmann
In the mid 1990′s when we designed it, we called it a pod. Now it goes by many different names: a household, a neighborhood and most prevalently a “green house model”. At Juniper Communities, if you live there, you live in Sage, Mountain, Garden or Lake house.
My colleague and Juniper’s interior designer, Richard and I attended the national Environments for Aging conference in mid-April. The conference attracts a diverse group – from architects, to designers, to manufacturers to senior living owners. This year there was a big focus on memory care design.
My headline might give you a clue to my next comments! The featured advice went something like this:
- Households of 10-16 promote quality of life, happier staff and better clinical outcomes
- Connected households promote activities that go beyond those associated with activities of daily living and make a changing and generally higher acuity population easier to staff appropriately on a 24/7 basis
- Care staff need to be in the household; the kitchen is a good place for a small administrative work place –med carts and large spaces to keep them are becoming obsolete
- Easily accessible outdoor space is critical
- Way finding colors and identifying architectural features are a must have
Richard and I kept meeting in the hallways after sessions hoping that the next session would yield some new ideas. On that front we were pretty disappointed. But there is a silver lining: the sessions confirmed what we have known for more than 15 years. Our Wellspring household model works and not only continues to stand the test of time but will be a model for excellence in the care of those with memory issues for some time to come.