The Qingdao CCRC Demonstration Building is intended to educate and provide real life examples of the typical services, components, functions, and spaces commonly found in a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) or Life Plan Communities. A Life Plan Community typically provides multiple levels of care at one property. This can include Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, Rehabilitation, and Dementia care. The concept is that when someone progresses through different stages of care, they can remain at the same community.
The basic design approach for the Demonstrahttp://thwdemo.holodyn-demo.com/administrator/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=edit&id=215#attrib-gallerytion Building consists of allocating different functions combined with exhibit/public display areas on each floor. There are some physical additions (a porte-cochere, a pool pavilion, a second elevator, etc.) that are considered necessary for the success of a CCRC/Life Plan Community project.
There are several interior design issues that must be considered in the design of a senior facility. They include the appropriate selection of finish materials and colors, furniture selection, quality of lighting, proper acoustics, and way-finding. Materials and colors can influence a resident’s sense of safety and their willingness to circulate around the facility. The vision of seniors is typically impaired and they begin to drag their feet so the selection of flooring materials, flooring transitions (avoid high contrast), and a clear understanding of circulation can encourage movement and socialization and therefore influence both their mental and physical health. Clarity of color becomes an issue with age, so the goal is not to have muddy / gray color schemes but instead use schemes that are saturated and clear. The furniture needs to take into account that an elderly persons body has physically changed and the difficulties associated with simple movements like sitting and standing. Hot spots and glare should be avoided in lighting and there should be an adequate contrast in surfaces. An example might be the resident room entry door could be an accent color making it easier for the resident to see. Excessive sound reverberations that interfere with the clearly discernable speech need to be addressed through the selection of the materials, the size and shapes of the physical spaces, and the furniture layout.
Proper use of finishes, lighting levels, and sound levels empower a resident to care for oneself as well as be part of the care-giving solution. Floor plans should be “road maps” with easily identified destinations with opportunities to connect through landmarks, color, artwork, and signage. A well designed senior living environment has a significant influence in the resident’s perceived security, mental awareness, nutritional intake, and relationship building.
The first floor is elevated from the street level about .60m. For use by handicapped individuals, the facility design should comply with ADA requirements. This will also assist the typical healthy senior adults in circulating through the building. Public Exhibit/Residential Commons - At this level the exhibition/display functions are combined with the IL (Independent Living) common services/spaces, including a wellness component. Wellness is a key component of a Senior Living community. Due to the limited footprint of the building and the structural limitations, we included the most basic spaces seen in a typical community and added a pool pavilion at the courtyard connected with the other wellness program activities. This overall combination of spaces will encourage an active interaction between visitors, staff, and residents.
The public garden space features several areas for small, private gatherings, as well as a larger patio space for larger group events. Upon exiting the building, one enters into a large patio area, framed by a low seat wall and the surrounding architecture. Flowering trees create a green canopy overhead, forming a comfortable shaded space. Complete with an outdoor kitchen and benches for seating, this space is well suited for formal gatherings. A circuitous sidewalk leads away from the patio and also provides a link to the parking lot. Following along this path, visitors experience a water feature flowing over a stone outcropping and into a small pool. A small bridge allows visitors to cross over the stream and leads to a central gazebo structure suitable for small informal gatherings. Placed along the path are several small tables for outdoor dining or simply enjoying the garden. Lush plantings complete the space.
Physical Therapy, Assisted Living (AL) , Skilled Nursing (SN), and health care commons areas are located on the second floor. This allows access to the outdoor healing / therapy garden atop the wellness connector and pool pavilion. The spaces have been organized in sequence from public to private starting at the main public stair / elevator.
Independent Living Unit (ILU) apartments and associated activities are located on the third floor. The intent is to have a representative mix of ILU unit types and to also use the adjacent building rooftop for a residential courtyard.
The fourth floor presents a particular challenge due to the existing concrete sloped roof and dormer windows which restricts the overhead clearances and the usable floor area. However, several ILU apartments have been developed to work around the physical impediments resulting in unique room layouts and efficient plans. Also, there is an opportunity for the associated common areas or an exhibit area that could include a unit mock-up (similar to the AAHSA House) or a manufacturers’ product display area. Public toilets, office space and storage / support areas could be included in this layout as well.
The roof garden gives residents of all abilities an opportunity to enjoy a lush courtyard above the busy streets below. A well appointed plaza creates opportunities for large groups to gather. Small flowering trees provide shade to benches below and frame views of the city skyline. With respect to the residents' sensory experiences, a small fountain and non-reflective paved surfaces finish out the space. A meandering sidewalk leads residents away from the plaza and to a less formal space. Stationed along the path are several small reflecting pools and benches for resting and enjoying the view.