Connectivity a Major Theme at 2019 Environments for Aging Conference
By Rebecca Jourdan
The passion for senior living design connects us and it is that connection that prompts us to share knowledge freely, so we can do greater good.
Connectivity was a common theme throughout the Annual Environments for Aging (EFA) conference last week in Salt Lake City, Utah. And at the core was the focus on the resident.
We learned from Dr. Maggie Calkins about the culture change taking place in senior living design. The subtle shift from:
- Person-Centered Care to
- Person-Directed Care to
- Self-Directed Care to
- Self-Directed, Relationship-Based Life
Design can encourage relationship-based living. Speaker Jane Rohde asked us to understand who we are designing for and to maximize potential for residential choice. Go a step further with the layout of a plan and do an overlay of human interactions that will occur. We should not make assumptions and remember that with each project to undertake a journey of understanding. This was born from another session on Designing Supportive Environments for People with Low Vision. Through a simulation, we were reminded on how difficult it can be to make our way with a degenerative eye condition.
Social integration and close relationships are the most effective paths to longevity. We learned from the keynote speaker Susan Pinker that the biggest health risk now is social isolation. The focus on human connection wove through the sessions from multi-generational living like the “Live Together Community Model” to designing “third spaces” for residents to naturally connect in a community.
Focus on the resident continued onto the expo floor where products made the life of a resident better like this sink that incorporates hand holds in a stylish way.
It was a breath of fresh air to learn that the Silver winner of the EFA Remodel Renovation competition went to a project that gave residents privacy and dignity in skilled nursing serving a primarily low-income community. While the beautiful, hospitality driven projects are exciting to see, the St. Ignatius Nursing and Rehabilitation Center project reminded us all that creating designs to improve the lives of our residents, staff and community is the greatest honor we have.
"My passion is to bring my talents of interior design, organization and problem solving to help my clients achieve their vision. I have a strong design sense that allows me to visualize how a space can be revised, renovated, upgraded or relocated to create harmony. By creating an honest and caring environment, my clients and I easily connect with one another and I make sure to earn and keep their trust. I bring a sense of calm, ask questions to learn more, and then I listen. Because they are comfortable sharing their project needs and goals, the design becomes purpose-driven. I’ve enjoyed working in a wide range of market segments from the classroom to the community where grandma lives. Staying involved in design and community allows me to stay at the forefront of industry so I can best serve my clients."
Registered Interior Designer