- As benefits get more attention, spaces are becoming more elaborate
- Memory care residents are more relaxed and stimulated
Senior housing providers are working with designers and architects on a solution that’s literally outside the box: creating innovative outdoor spaces to help residents relax and heal, while also driving sales and staff satisfaction.
The benefits of memory care residents being more connected with nature are just starting to be measured, but the role gardens, green spaces and family areas play in senior living appears self-evident to many in the industry. As a result, outdoor spaces are becoming more elaborate and creative.
Oklahoma-based Senior Star and Chicago’s CCRC The Admiral are two of the operators who are pushing the envelope on green senior living, and both the companies and their residents are reaping the rewards.
The Garden is the Star
A study from the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine found that memory care residents who utilized community gardens found them beneficial in a few ways. Residents felt more relaxed and experienced general pleasure from spending time in the gardens, which also had some impact on keeping a normalized routine. Staff members and associates also have positive reactions from community gardens, the study showed, as they were able to better engage and stimulate residents.
Architects and designers are taking these findings into account when creating new spaces for senior housing providers.
“It’s across the board, there is tons of evidence and research that the more you can get outdoors and engage with nature, the better off you will be,” says Bryan Warne, director of landscape architecture with Pi Architects, a Texas-based architecture firm that designs within the senior housing space. “With memory care specifically, some studies show a slowing of the progression of dementia and some small improvements [from being] able to experience those outdoor spaces.”
Warne says it’s important for architects and senior housing providers to constantly be on the lookout for ways to integrate outdoor areas into their building designs and fit the cultural needs of residents.
Contributed by Amy Baxter Staff Writer- Senior Housing News and Healthsense