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Emphasizing The Human Element In Senior Facilities

Assisted living, long-term care, nursing homes—regardless of the category name, many people have a dated concept of what these facilities look and feel like, regardless of the vital care they might provide. Leading senior care companies have been making serious efforts to make senior living facilities stylish and warm communities. The idea is that even when the services you require are medically based, they can be delivered in a nurturing atmosphere. Bringing the human touch to a new level is the recently introduced “Facility of the Future" interior design concept created by the international design firm WATG for new Golden Living facilities throughout the United States.

Golden Living is a forward-thinking healthcare company that provides a wide range of services in a variety of settings including post-hospital rehabilitation, assisted living facilities, nursing and home health care. Golden Living has 16 freestanding assisted living centers, or Golden Living Communities, residences for people who are able to live independently but may need help with certain activities. A few focus on retirement living rather than assisted living, with conveniences and services designed to support residents who live independently in their own apartments. Most of the communities are located close to or even attached to Golden LivingCenters, where skilled care is offered, should that be needed; many individual have received awards for their outstanding quality.

Now with the “Facility of the Future,” Golden Living is raising its own bar. The concept incorporates state-of-the-art amenities and furnishings to create more of a home atmosphere that focuses on wellness as part of the recovery process—it creates an environment that melds healthcare, hospitality, and wellness. The design has the level of luxury and attention to detail typically found in work WATG has done for upscale hotels and spas, like the lush compound in the Grumeti region of Tanzania’s Serengeti they created for Singita Resorts. “No one wants to have an extended hospital stay,” said WATG senior designer Meagan Jacobi. “The ‘Facility of the Future’ allows you to check into a ‘spa resort’ that has already considered your rehabilitation needs without forgetting about all the details that make a spa resort a place we want to be…a place to heal, to strengthen, and to rejuvenate the spirit.” So, in addition to skilled nursing and physical therapy, patients will be able to get treatments such as massage and nutrition training.

Being lifestyle-oriented, the facilities will provide residents with private rooms with a hotel rather than a hospital look, with lounge areas, desk space, outlets for personal electronics and a place for all their personal toiletries in their private bathroom. To extend the healing environment beyond the patient’s room, the facility design stresses natural daylight and incorporates atriums that let residents enjoy the outdoor scenery, regardless of the weather conditions or their physical limitations. The public spaces are warm, inviting areas for patients and guests to visit and share a meal together in the restaurant or a quick snack at the juice bar. There will even be an Internet café. Certain components of the design will be used in renovations of existing Golden Living facilities to bring a greater focus on personal space, wellness, and rehabilitation.

While best known for resort design, this is not WATG’s first foray into wellness. The firm was the design architect for both the Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon, and the Four Seasons Westlake Village in California—a hotel and resort designed exclusively for the purpose of teaching people how to live better, healthier lives.