Interior design affects senior living industry

Interior design affects senior living industry

You might think of interior design as more of a residential issue, but it also affects business decisions and consumer impressions. For instance, people who find a business aesthetically pleasing are more likely to return to it. The senior living industry combines business and housing, so décor considerations are especially important.

Important first impressions

Adrienne Faulkner is president and CEO of Faulkner Design Group, a business that has a finger in all sorts of living quarters. She said, "First impressions matter when people are shopping for a senior living community, and the adult child of a prospective resident is an important part of the equation. That’s why communities need to appeal to multiple generations."

Mixed-use developments gain popularity

In its 21 years of business, it has created 350,000 living units for all age demographics, ranging from student housing to 55+ communities. Previously, senior living centers were designed with only the elderly residents in mind, but designers are beginning to realize the importance of appealing to the adult children of future residents as well. "[The multigenerational environment is] getting more headway," Faulkner said. "We’ve done a ton of mixed-use [developments] around the country. The way we’ve upgraded units in multifamily is so badly needed in senior living, in terms of layout and room use."

More services expected to be provided

The exterior of a senior facility is important for curb appeal’s sake. People won’t step through the door if they don’t find the outside of the building attractive, but interior considerations are just as, if not more, important, Faulkner said. One aspect she expects to see gain momentum is bringing more services into senior living areas. She compared the idea to fancy hotels whose lobbies have Starbucks, juice bars, exercise rooms, etc. Cruise ships are another good example of this because they have to appeal to such a wide range of ethnicities, ages, and demographics.

"We’ve been doing health and fitness in multifamily forever," Faulkner explained. "But the hospitality aspect, such as different dining opportunities-it’s important to have the environment feel like they’re at a luxury hotel." Senior living communities might consider building those services into their design, or including rentable space for third-party operators to bid on.

Maintain quality and detail

Another thing Faulkner emphasized was the need to maintain the same level of design quality throughout the community. "You could have this beautiful environment at a community," she said, "and then you get to the unit and it’s the cheapest faucet, the cheapest carpet, etc. You need to keep the expectation up all the way through the community."

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Source: http://seniorhousingnews.com/2013/09/11/hospitality-upgrades-making-headway-in-senior-living-design/

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