In recent years, many older adult communities have shifted away from the healthcare-oriented design of skilled nursing and hospitals in favor of spaces that provide a greater sense of community and emotional well-being. However, new design challenges have arrived as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, showing that older adult populations can be highly susceptible to disease and infection spread in common living communities. The “Designing for Emergency Preparedness Insight Report” lays out multiple design solutions that can be implemented during an emergency to reduce the spread of disease.
Specifically, it provides actionable design solutions that can help reduce the transmission of germs through:
- Architectural design that lends itself to the compartmentalization of residents and staff
- Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems;
- Limiting outside sources from entering resident units, entering the community, or reducing the travel distance once inside;
- Interior design solutions; and
“COVID-19 will have a drastic and lasting impact on senior living communities and will forever change the way we design and build spaces for older adults,” said Jami Mohlenkamp, principal at OZ Architecture, head of the firm’s Senior Living practice area and industry expert. “We can overcome many of the challenges associated with the spread of disease through design, while also continuing to create spaces that foster community and combat isolation. This report is designed to give operators a look at the future of design for older adult communities.”