How the Best Nursing Home Designs Focus on Senior Health and Wellness, Part 2: Private Spaces

How the Best Nursing Home Designs Focus on Senior Health and Wellness, Part 2: Private Spaces

Manage FF&E specification, procurement, and product data at scale. Take on bigger projects with confidence and grow your firm with  FohlioSchedule a demo or book a consultation with one of our account managers to explore these features today

Welcome to part 2 of our 2-part series on Senior Health and Wellness, where we will explore considerations for smaller spaces in the nursing homes like bedrooms and bathrooms, with a little bonus on finishes.

When planning out your nursing home design requirements, you just can’t overlook the bedrooms. The bedroom is where your residents will be spending most of their time, so it’s crucial to pay attention to the little details that can improve your resident’s bedroom experience. 

We’ve mentioned in the first article that elderly residents often feel stressed out in institutional-like environments- and that’s a fact. This has been proved time and time again in nursing homes, just take a look at what the National Research Council (US) Committee on the Role of Human Factors in Home Health Care discovered- where they stated that there is a direct correlation between health and built environment. When a resident is in poor health or experiencing acuity loss- health problems become so tied up with housing problems that the two become indistinguishable. To regulate this, environmental factors became an extension of the solution to declining health and aging. Having an environment that is built to assist can become a great asset to limited individuals. The general areas of a nursing home floorplan such as kitchens, gardens, and walkways help in promoting exercise and forming social ties, while private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms in a nursing home serve as a tool. Think of the bedroom as a prosthetic- It compensates for their limitations and aims to help your seniors care for themselves as safely and independently as possible. 

In building your design guidelines for private bedrooms, Its crucial to take these things into consideration: Older adults, according to Zia Pour and Kianpour (2014) showed that 44% of elderly people have sleep problems, 23% have hearing problems, 63.6% have vision problems, 21.7% have constipation, 45.3% have memory impairment, 14.8% have urinary tract problems, 90.8% dental problems, and 43% stress. 

Here are a few considerations to help guide you in designing and specifying for senior health and wellness on your next project:

Door And Window Specifications For Senior Health and Wellness

1. Incorporate big windows in your considerations for nursing home architecture.

Consider big windows when building your window schedules, sunlight not only reduces bodily stresses, but also gives off vitamins and boosts endorphins that your residents need to start their day.

How the Best Nursing Home Designs Focus on Senior Health and Wellness, Part 2: Private Areas | Procurement | Standardization | FF&E | Product Management | Senior Wellness | Senior Health and Wellness | Nursing Home Floorplans

Peter Rosegger Nursing Home / Dietger Wissounig Architekten

2. Clerestory Or Overhangs

For situations where huge windows aren’t an option, consider including clerestory or overhung windows as an alternative. These types of windows can largely transform a room as much as a big window can. Some pros: It still lets sunlight in but with a twist: The interesting silhouettes formed by these types of windows add a sense of style and personality to a room that anyone will enjoy.

How the Best Nursing Home Designs Focus on Senior Health and Wellness, Part 2: Private Areas | Procurement | Standardization | FF&E | Product Management | Senior Wellness | Senior Health and Wellness | Nursing Home Floorplans

3. Dutch Doors

Dutch doors aren’t only useful for front doors. They could also be a great addition to your nursing home design. Incorporating dutch doors into your individual rooms can give residents more options for their space because they can now choose between different levels of privacy. They could have the door completely closed for moments of isolation, or half-open if they are feeling a bit social but don’t want to leave the room. Having a dutch door also eliminates feelings of intrusion, with nurses and visitors coming in and out of the room to give things like food or medication. 

 How the Best Nursing Home Designs Focus on Senior Health and Wellness, Part 2: Private Areas | Procurement | Standardization | FF&E | Product Management | Senior Wellness | Senior Health and Wellness | Nursing Home Floorplans
4. Door Sizes

Door sizes should include wheelchair accessibility and should be big enough to fit a single bed through it in case emergencies arise. 

Finishes To Consider For Senior Wellness

1. Anti-Slip Surfaces

This is to avoid slips and accidents. A great way to do this is to play around with your flooring options, We recommend leaning towards soft carpet tiles for anti-slippage. 

Note: Pay attention to transitions between your flooring. Make sure they are as smooth as can be to avoid trips and falls.

2. Anti-Glare Surfaces

Visual sensitivity leads to headaches, nausea, and just overall a bad day. Opt for matte finishes on major surfaces to avoid big reflections that can cause glare to the eyes. 

3. Acoustics

Incorporate acoustics inside the rooms to avoid noise propagation. Older adults are light sleepers and need all the assistance they can get when it comes to noise reduction. Reducing noise will also make them less susceptible to over-stimulation.

Senior-Centric Lighting For Nursing Home Design Requirements

1. General Lighting

Senior citizens typically need twice the light that younger adults do in order to see. Seniors are also very sensitive to glare. Therefore, it’s important for lighting to not only be abundant but diffused properly and uniform throughout the space. Here’s a guide for choosing your lighting. 

Recommended Light Levels by Age Group in Lumens
Area or activity 20 year old 40 year old 60 year old 80 year old
Hallways & Walkways 21         43         86          129     
Conversation 27         54         108      161     
Bathroom / Makeup 161     323     646      968     
Reading 269     538     1076  1614 
Kitchen Counter 404     807     1614  2421 
Hobbies (Sewing, model building) 538     1076  2152  3228 
Note: Always consider diffusers for your light fixtures and a matte finish for the casing. This will help you avoid glare sensitivities.
2. Nightlight For Mobility At Night

The last thing you need is an accident. Having a nightlight will help your senior residents in case they need to get up at night and go to the bathroom when there’s no assistance available. Visual impairments are also common with the elderly, so a night light will definitely help compared to full darkness in the bedroom. 

3. Ambient Lighting And Additional Fixtures 

General lighting is great but isn’t sufficient when caring for seniors. This is because in cases where you only have one source of light (which is usually located on the ceiling) this will cast shadows and make activities more difficult and dangerous for your seniors. Ambient lighting is also great to help your residents wind down after a long day. Lamps are a great option and can be used for relaxation activities such as reading in bed, watching television, or doing other menial tasks. 

Bathroom Finishes and Fixtures We Swear By

1. Finishes
  • Non-slip finishes and accessories- Beware of wet flooring. Choose floor tiles that are non-slip, or if you don’t have that option, accessorize with anti-skid mats and surfaces. 
  • Anti-bacterial and low maintenance materials- This is to avoid health issues related to toxic molds or contaminants that may arise when you have high maintenance and porous finishes. It’s not every day that your residents are able to clean, so it’s safer to opt for anti-bacterial surface finishes.
  • Light-colored materials and finishes- Lighter surfaces without complex patterns or grains are easier to look at and move around with because they do not mess with low-vision.
2. Fixtures:
  • Grab bars and handrails- these are useful fixtures to have, especially in the bathroom because it helps seniors go in and out of the bathroom smoothly. 
 How the Best Nursing Home Designs Focus on Senior Health and Wellness, Part 2: Private Areas | Procurement | Standardization | FF&E | Product Management | Senior Wellness | Senior Health and Wellness | Nursing Home Floorplans
 How the Best Nursing Home Designs Focus on Senior Health and Wellness, Part 2: Private Areas | Procurement | Standardization | FF&E | Product Management | Senior Wellness | Senior Health and Wellness | Nursing Home Floorplans
Check out this accessible bathroom made by Carla Aston. Photo by Tori Aston

 

  • The bathroom door should swing outwards and not into the bathroom area. This is in case anyone falls and is near the door, there is still room for help to come in
  • Have a telephone in the bathroom in case accidents happen inside the bathroom and someone needs to call for help.
  • A wheelchair leveled faucet is great for seniors with low mobility. 
  • Choose a pressure-balanced lever for your shower areas. This is to assure that the water temperature is always at a safe level upon opening.  It would also be great to install a hand-held shower fixture for the low-mobility folks.
  • Safety switches are a need to avoid accidents involving electricity- which could be quite dangerous. Safety switches automatically cut off power when in contact with short circuits or electric leaks. 

Anthropometrics, Ergonomics, and Proxemics for Accessibility

Get your measurements down to a T. While not all seniors are in a wheelchair (obviously) wheelchair accessibility should be considered when creating your nursing home floor plans. This is one of the most overlooked details of a senior home. Designers forget to consider those residents with disabilities or low mobility. That can be very limiting and downright frustrating for seniors who are looking to have a place they can call home. Here’s a guide to some anthropometrics to consider when designing your spaces: 

 How the Best Nursing Home Designs Focus on Senior Health and Wellness, Part 2: Private Areas | Procurement | Standardization | FF&E | Product Management | Senior Wellness | Senior Health and Wellness | Nursing Home Floorplans

And that’s it! We can go on and on about all the details, but that might be a little too overwhelming so we hope this generalized guide will do. Don’t forget to keep well-being at the center of your nursing home design while following these tips, and you’re well on your way to being an expert on designing for senior health and wellness. 

Manage FF&E specification, procurement, and product data at scale. Take on bigger projects with confidence and grow your firm with  FohlioSchedule a demo or book a consultation with one of our account managers to explore these features today

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK210046/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5348947/#:~:text=Galligan%20stated%20that%20one%20of,of%20stress%20in%20the%20elderly.

https://commons.emich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1827&context=theses 

https://www.lampsusa.com/blogs/how-to-and-tips/14251557-25-lighting-tips-for-seniors#:~:text=So%20by%20adding%201000%20lumens,or%2075%20w%20(halogen).

https://www.lightsearch.com/resources/lightguides/glare.html

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