The Future of Assisted Living

How healthcare building will change the future

Healthcare building for seniors is a satisfying task for us at Carlton Building. It’s also a civic necessity. In 2015 8.5% of the world’s population was age 65+ (617 million people). By 2050 that will grow to an astounding 16.7%. In this country 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day!

Thankfully, the stigma tied to “old age homes” is succumbing to a slow steady death. In this segment we’ll cover some of the positive realities of today’s more active elders. More to the point, let’s touch upon the contribution our practice of architecture and construction can make to the new definition of retirement.

What is Senior Healthcare Living?

Senior housing covers a wide variety of categories making it interesting for our healthcare remodeling ventures.

Independent Living

Usually a townhouse or apartment, these homes are usually 1,500 square feet to 2,000 square feet. They frequently offer a full kitchen, living, and dining areas.

Assisted Living

Seniors get help with the activities of daily living. Those can include bathing, eating and dressing. Usually, these are 320 to 650 square feet.

Skilled Nursing

These facilities are for seniors who need long-term medical care or short-term rehabilitation after a hospital procedure.

Life Plan Communities
These communities are a form of independent living, but they also can incorporate skilled nursing care and assisted living services. Healthy adults can live in a condo or apartment.  

One challenge in creating these environments—from a building perspective—is the lack of consistent guidelines across regions. This can create conflicts over how senior housing is constructed, and how safety measures are implemented.

As healthcare remodelers two trends we expect to see more of are a “green” approach and technology driven features.

The Green House Movement

It’s in full swing and our planet is thankful. These include wall coverings that meet infection control requirements. Another benefit is the use of solution-dyed carpets with moisture backings. They can be cleaned with industrial-strength cleaners. Improved indoor air quality, water conservation, nature views and efficient lighting are also being applied to senior living. (More about that here.)

Technology

Strong Wi-Fi connections aren’t only for the young. More and more “Smart Homes” are on the horizon in places like assisted living facilities. Outfitting walls with appropriate chargers and connections will become increasingly important. Personal tech like voice-first technology such as Amazon’s Alexa are prime tools for digital senior living.

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Telehealth — video check-ins or employing tech that monitors health info are already in use. Homes will be preparing their structure to make it easier. Organizing senior living with this type of building will reduce transportation difficulties and make healthcare access easier for those who need it. Reduced healthcare costs will result from less emergency-room visits for more easily diagnosed ailments. Smart watches like OnePulse from AT&T, offers telehealth and remote patient-monitoring capabilities right now.

A future with robot-assisted surgery and virtual nursing assistance will be a huge advantage as more and more assisted living facilities are designed and produced keeping smart technology in mind.

With a little luck, we in healthcare construction can help usher in senior lifestyles far from the stark hallways of “old-age homes.” Carlton Building Services is committed to making structures that improve people’s lives and offer a quality of life they can enjoy for years to come.