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5 Paths to Building Healthy Senior Living Communities


Amid swirling fears of oversupply and 2015’s Q4 earnings reports, senior housing industry leaders are looking ahead at how best to leverage community assets. One emerging priority seems to be holistic, integrated living spaces built around long-term potential.

In 2013 the Urban Land Institute published 10 Principles for Building Healthy Living Spaces which include access to healthy food and energizing shared spaces. For age-qualified senior housing, these principles can take on a few tangible forms:

Sustainable materials

Create an optimum indoor environment by using materials that breathe. Especially when space is limited, good air circulation and the ability to open windows to the outdoors  promotes healthier indoor spaces and a happier resident experience.

Edible landscaping

Garden space yields social, physical, and environmental benefits. Residents enjoy the activity individually and collaboratively. The produce contributes to healthier diets, and more absorbent surfaces can provide solutions to water runoff problems.

Energy efficiency

When you renovate and build for energy and water efficiency, the ultimate yield is resident health and satisfaction, not to mention more cost-effective operations. Water, sun, and good insulation all work together to maintain optimum environments for happiness and longevity.

Outside access

Outside access design takes many forms. Within a community, porch space and walking paths encourage connection among residents and cultivate a neighborhood feel. Situating your development in a more urban area with good access to technology and transit options helps residents stay healthier by staying involved with the world around them.

Flexible programming

In an independent living or age-qualified setting, keeping activities optional is crucial to resident satisfaction. In general, programming that celebrates individuality and choice results in higher levels of health and well-being. Activities that incorporate intergenerational exchange or contact with the surrounding community can be especially beneficial.

In an era of rapid change and speculation, sustainable renovation is improving health, mobility, and independence in senior living communities across the spectrum of development.