Interior view of a senior housing space that illustrates designing for dignity

Senior Living: Designing for Dignity

Thoughtful senior housing design elements can be good for body, soul, and quality of life  

In the not-so-distant past, senior living conjured up images of dark hallways with peculiar smells and institutional design. Those images were anything but dignified, and people who went to skilled nursing or senior facilities in the past may not have enjoyed the high quality of life seniors can get in today’s modern senior living communities.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way in commercial construction and the senior housing industry. These days, developers are partnering with design-build firms to design for dignity. It’s a catchy phrase, and it sounds great, but what exactly does it mean to design senior housing for dignity? Let’s explore this emerging trend.

Here’s what designing for dignity means

Developers who seek to build the future of senior housing are often looking for a differentiator, something to set their senior living community apart from the others in the market. Designing for dignity may do just that. Of course, dignity can be imagined in many ways, but at its core, designing for dignity includes developing a facility for seniors that allows them to live their lives as richly as possible and lets their family and friends visit comfortably while also providing caregivers with a space that empowers them to do their jobs well.

To design for dignity, developers should consider many facets of the senior residents’ experiences. From living spaces to dining to bathrooms and lighting, every feature, every space, should be thoughtfully designed with the user experience in mind. Here are some aspects of the senior living environment that can be reimagined with an eye toward designing with dignity.

Reimagining caregiving

To treat seniors with dignity, it’s essential to give staff the tools to provide compassionate care. And that starts with being mindful of the well-being of staff. Design can improve morale among staff, reduce stress, and even positively impact their health and wellness. Working with an experienced design and build team gives you insights into how design can improve employee engagement, performance, and efficiency. Just as important in a time when staffing presents its own challenges, you can improve staff retention by removing barriers that contribute to staff burnout.

Caregiving can be a difficult calling, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Creating spaces that consider the care of caregivers allows employers to treat staff and guests with dignity.

Reimagining hospitality

For years, senior living facilities have been moving closer and closer to the resort experience. But if you look past the upscale veneer of these beautiful, welcoming spaces, there’s an undercurrent of hospitality aimed at providing for whole-person wellness. When this aspect of hospitality is in the foreground, no design decision is made without considering it through this lens. From fixtures to room layout and colors, from door designs to dining layout to fabrics and lighting choices, every aspect of a room or building contributes to the overall care of those who enter its doors. Unseen by the naked eye are the decisions made to control the spread of infectious diseases and improve air quality. While these aspects of a space might go unnoticed by residents and visitors, they are no less important than the design aspects that delight.

Reimagining wellness

To live life with dignity, wellness has to be a priority. Designing and building facilities that allow for physical activity, meaningful activities and continued mental sharpness will foster wellness among the seniors who call your community home. Moreover, caring for these aspects of whole-person wellness can improve the quality and quantity of life that residents experience. By working with design and build experts, you’ll have access to a team at the forefront of innovations aimed at adapting to life as seniors age. Among the features that can improve your residents’ experiences: entries and lifts aimed at improved mobility and building strength, activities that stimulate the mind, soul, and heart, and facilities that provide ease of access, enriching the lives of people of all abilities.

Ready to reimagine the future of senior living with dignity in mind?

When you’re ready to reimagine and redesign senior living with dignity at the forefront, our design and build team in the Rochester and the Coulee Region can help. We’ll work with you to develop a facility designed to treat seniors and the caregivers who serve them with dignity. Contact us to begin designing with dignity for seniors in La Crosse, Onalaska, Rochester, and the entire 7 Rivers Region. Together, we’ll build the future of senior living in Wisconsin and Minnesota.