The future of senior living facilities will include tech-friendly rooms and a focus on nature

Connecticut Families

Conn. (WTNH) — The future of senior living facilities may be including more tech-friendly rooms and a focus on nature. These changes more important than ever amid a world-wide pandemic.

“We lived in Old Saybrook. We were there for 31 years while the boys were growing up,” explains Larry Bright. An empty nest inspired him and his wife, Lucy, to move to Thames Edge at Fairview, a senior community in Groton.

“It’s nice, airy, we have a beautiful view of the Thames River,” he says.

All key components that show how elderly housing is evolving, a conversation more important than ever in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

“I think what we’ll see, which has been on the forefront of design, is called the small house concept which breaks down the nursing homes or senior living enclaves into smaller enclaves or neighborhoods,” explains Myles Brown of Amenta Emma Architects, who designed the community, featuring cottages and a non-traditional nursing home. “More like 10-15 residents in a self-contained environment that has living, dining, kitchen. It creates a more home-like environment.”

He continues: “We’re going to see more incorporation of technology built into those rooms or apartments so it’s easier for those residents to communicate with their loved ones.”

Bringing nature into plans is also taking center stage with buildings shaped around the scenery. Brown designed a Bloomfield facility with a magnificent oak tree as the focal point which provides great views from the apartments and common space.

“There was an art class going on in that room where the residents were being taught and painting that tree,” says Brown with a smile. “That was really a special moment.”

“We do go for walks, we put our masks on and go for walks,” says Larry. “We meet people and keep the distance and it’s nice, at least we can interface a little bit.”

The Bright’s son is glad there’s an emphasis on outside space and a neighborly spirit to help with loneliness and isolation.

“We find on a nice day, many people are out, so you can visit, that’s our way of visiting,” adds Lucy.

Certainly, the expense is a factor, but Brown says many of these ideas can be incorporated in existing facilities in cost-effective ways. He expects to see both renovations and new construction in senior living spaces in the coming months.

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