Benefits of Neighborhood Design for Senior Living

Neighborhood Design is a trend we’re seeing for Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living and Memory Care that provides a higher level of care to residents and lower costs for operators. The concept of Neighborhood Design was derived from The Green House Project and their theory on delivering care.

What is it?

The idea is to create “neighborhoods” with anywhere from 10 to 32 residents each, depending on staffing and the type of care required. Each neighborhood’s resident apartments are clustered around dedicated common areas where activities and socializing occur. Wyoming Springs, an ALFA award winning project REES Designed located in Round Rock, TX, consists of three neighborhoods with 36 beds. Two neighborhoods are dedicated to Assisted Living with a variety of one and two bedroom units and the third neighborhood is the Memory Care Center with studio apartments.

Michelle Clark, an expert in senior living design at REES, believes in Neighborhood Design.“With a mother with Alzheimer’s who is living in a neighborhood designed community, I have seen how this person-centered solution improves the lives of those who live and work in it every day,” says Clark.

How do residents benefit?

Dr. Terry Lum, a leading researcher in Social Policy and Geriatric Psychiatry at the University of Hong Kong, has seen how residents can benefit from Neighborhood design in a number of ways. First, walking distances from their rooms to common areas are shorter compared to a clinical model. Residents often show improvement in their ability to walk. The residents are also closer to common room activities, so they remain more socially engaged. Being more socially engaged with your  community has been proven to reduce stress, reduce depression and improve overall health. Because of the smaller number of residents in each household, residents can build strong relationships with other residents and staff.

How does the staff benefit?

Another benefit is staff retention. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health turnover rate for a typical senior living community can range from 25-35%. Neighborhood Design has been proven to increase staff retention. This is due to the setup of each household. Instead of having to navigate residents through long corridors and elevators several times a day, they are able to focus on actually providing care. The Green House project has seen retention rates increase by as much as 70%.

Consider the Neighborhood Design

Neighborhood Design is a growing trend for Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities and it’s a design that we recommend our clients consider. While it was created to benefit the staff and residents, operators are seeing great results as well. REES has helped several clients create successful Neighborhood designs and believe in its results. With great design and proper staffing, it can reduce costs and provide a higher level of care to residents.