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2011 Trends in Design

Published On: Nov 14, 2011

50 Years of Progress—and the Best Is Yet to Come!

When the American Association of Homes for the Aging (now LeadingAge) opened its doors in 1961, concepts like “small house model” and “evidence-based design” had yet to be imagined. This year’s Trends in Design reflects on 50 years of evolution in senior living design and celebrates the advances that support resident empowerment.

  • Emily Chmielewski, of Perkins Eastman Research Collaborative, identifies 3 major trends from the 10th cycle of the Design for Aging Review (DFAR) competition. We see the establishment of the household model as the new standard for assisted living and skilled care; the recognition that "home-like" isn't enough—it's about appealing to residents' personal aesthetic preferences; and the emergence of new approaches to continuing care that break down the walls of the traditional senior community.
  • Vicki Nelson, of Diekema Hamann Architecture Engineering, looks back on the past 50 years to highlight how far the field has come. We trace our journey from the “old folk's” home, to the double-loaded corridor skilled nursing facility, to today’s household-neighborhood model that has the feel of a private home.

  • Jake Friend and Melinda Avila-Torio from THW write about the 2011 Idea House to be featured at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting. This full-scale model living unit showcases the latest trends in technology and senior living design. We discover how the many innovations in the home work together to support resident independence, mobility, cognitive activity and social interaction.

Finally, providers from previous DFAR competition juries share their thoughts on how design in senior living has evolved. We have witnessed the design process become more participative, and seen designers’ knowledge base grow to include expertise in gerontology and marketing.

This year’s Trends in Design sets the stage for the upcoming announcement of the award winners from the 11th cycle of the DFAR competition. We're certain to see how the trends and innovations described in the following pages are applied to new construction, renovation and reinvention of senior living environments.


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