I was recently given a tour of an assisted living facility that one of my family members is staying in. The design of the the facility was done with comfort and familiarity in mind, which might lead some architects to call the design “quaint.”
The label of “quaint” misses the point however. The facility is very attractive and comfortable to the generation who will be using it. The facility is relatively new and a far cry above many older facilities in that it does not feel institutional, foreboding, or sterile. The arrival sequence is very welcoming and the common and private facilities all feel “homey” or comfortable. These traits are obviously very important when someone my grandparents’ age makes the decision to move out of their own house (of over sixty years) and into a new environment.
The organization of the facility was quite thoughtful, and I enjoyed learning my way around. The building plan hinges around a central double height public dining room. The major circulation for the building passes within the same open space as the dining room, giving residents the option to pass by and watch, or participate. The front entrance, library, salon, activity rooms, community living room, and main offices all also open into the dining space. With this plan arrangement, there always seems to be activity to observe from the central area.
The building layout also encloses a courtyard for the residents that surely must be a flurry of activity during warmer weather.
I am still trying to understand how facilities like this are regulated. The facility that I toured was private, and thus, I believe the facility didn’t need to adhere to the different “level of care” standards that state funded facilities adhere to. I need to study this more to make sure I understand it properly.