The expectations of design, comfort and community living for aged care facilities are changing, with a shift to de-institutionalise the care environment. It makes sense a resident’s home should be used as the inspiration for the type of aged care facility they would feel comfortable living in or a place where their family would be happy to visit their loved ones. By designing aged care facilities to create a non-clinical and residential feel, all the standard features that are part of the care functions can still be provided – such as nurse call technology and safety rails – while also providing a place that feels like home, offering a familiar environment and a sense of belonging.
Providing home-like facilities for residents living with dementia can offer even more benefits, with environments that offer sense of “normality” linked to a decrease in disruptive behaviours that can often manifest in aged care settings.
Dementia care research has also indicated that it is beneficial for outside areas to reflect that feeling of home. For example, walking pathways can be designed around certain scents, colours and patterns. If designed in this manner, these areas can elicit a sense of serenity, calm and gentle engagement.
Related content: See more on dementia friendly environments
Another trend in aged care design has been toward high-rise models for advanced aged care. This gives the resident a chance to live normally and stay active within their communities.
In Adelaide, an 18-storey tower is being constructed to provide apartment-style aged care facilities. The building is described as being ‘radically mixed use’, with tenants from retail, community services, convention to retirement living.