The demand for senior living communities is on a rise for the past one decade. Added to the demand, the rapid growth in technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have expanded the dimensions of designing senior living communities that can now cater to not only healthcare but also the lifestyle needs of the senior population.
However, as things stand, there exists an enormous gap in the demand and supply of these services. Consequently, many private players have emerged to fill this vastly untapped market, thereby creating holistic, comprehensive and quality lifestyle solutions focused on this age group of 55 and above.
One of the solutions is building tailor-made homes in residential communities that aim to bring about positive social change and break the preconceived notions and myths around senior care. A mélange of services for the elders readily available within the periphery of a specifically designed infrastructure aids their physical activity, spiritual and mental engagement, and provides an extra cushion of safety.
Amenities to look out for at senior living communities
Senior living communities are envisioned and designed to create life care, lifestyle and hospitality-based offerings for the seniors. Such an arrangement helps them take care of their day-to-day life, needs, comfort and safety – enabling them to age gracefully. They develop an overall ecosystem – housing spaces such as a clubhouse and a wellness area, among others –that exhibit wellness, health and rejuvenation.
Dedicated teams such as ''Resident Services” assist the residents in curating their needs, ranging from delivering groceries to getting their medicines at their doorsteps. Additionally, the doctors and medical staff within the community take care of the residents' primary and secondary medical needs and are available on-call in case of medical extremities. An ambulance is stationed 24x7 inside the community premises to address any possible medical emergency. Apart from the health and wellness aspects, a community of like-minded people around the same age is advantageous over regular residential living facilities.
Ease of socialising with peers
Seniors can socialise with their peers right outside the house, with ample and accessible seating spaces in public areas. There should be sofas for seniors coming in and out of their homes or the lobby adjoining the lift on every floor. This also serves as a meeting area to engage in small conversations with the neighbours.
Safety and security systems
When it comes to safety and security systems, CCTVs in the lobby area ensure an immediate response mechanism during emergencies. The main door locks have multiple security options such as passcodes, smartcards, and a traditional key system for the seniors to access their homes/living areas if they forget their passcode or lose their smartcards. Every room, along with the bathrooms attached, in the apartments is equipped with panic buttons that notify the Emergency Response Team, and help arrives at the doorstep in less than 120 seconds of the emergency. This turnaround time is crucial, keeping in mind the age of the population residing in such communities.
Design of rooms
Spacious, wider rooms are designed to prevent the seniors from tripping. The flooring in all the spaces inside the house and the balconies are constructed using anti-skid tiles. Walls have rounded chamfered edges to avoid accidental injuries or cuts to the residents.
Fresh, adjustable air in well-lit rooms
Keeping the quality of air and light in mind, the windows are built as big as doors to allow ample light over the dining and the living area – an attempt to entwine nature with living. Mesh covering on the balconies, doors and windows keeps dust and mosquitoes away while not intervening with the passage of fresh air. False ceilings with cove lighting generate ambient anti-glare lighting to avoid excessive reflection and refraction to facilitate the person's reading habits. Air conditioning – both heating and cooling – is available to adjust the temperature as per the needs of the residents.
Designing the interiors to increase accessibility for everyone holds the key in senior living communities. For instance, the height of the kitchen slabs and storage spaces are specially engineered to accommodate residents of all heights, including those who might be disabled. There are sliding doors for seniors who cannot grip things, making it simple to be opened and shut. The doors are built wide enough, keeping the wheelchair turning radius in mind during emergencies. Sensor-operated lights are switched on as soon as the residents step onto the floor. This enhances better visibility and prevents unwarranted accidents.
It is essential to understand the needs of the individual first and then look for a community that most aligns with them. An excellent place to start, though, would be to look for spaces with a range of amenities mentioned above. Such interiors, designs, and technology advancements can help seniors lead a hassle-free life within a like-minded community with utmost safety. With the growing senior population and their changing perception about such facilities, it is crucial to be well-versed in such innovative services to make informed choices for a seamless ageing experience.