Are assisted living Main Streets the future or the past? | I Advance Senior Care Skip to content Skip to navigation

Are assisted living Main Streets the future or the past?

December 10, 2010
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In the past few years we have seen a steady increase of “Main Street” concepts for assisted living and continuing care retirement communities. They can range from a portion of the community that functions as a salon, restaurant, and/or fitness center, to the full blown Vegas-style “New York, New York” street scene. My last senior living project was featured on CNN due to the incorporation of manhole covers that had timed steam escaping and fake snow falling during the holidays.


This community hosted a pub, full church, two-story theater, fitness center, salon, grill, and pet shop. The costs of these spaces, if done well, can range upwards of $350 per square foot. Of the Main Street concepts that we have been involved with, they tend to be more successful when they are partnered with a great activities program. When activities and interiors merge, results can be hugely popular with residents, and it’s common for there to be waiting lists to for them take part in an activity.


But are these concepts sustainable? As Baby Boomers start to enter into assisted living and independent living, I’m left pondering if they will be as enamored with Main Streets as the World War II generation. What do you think?

Lisa Cini

President and CEO

Cini is president and CEO of Mosaic...



As a resident who has lived in nursing homes for many years, I have only seen photos of the Main Street design. I can see that it has its merits. We all like aesthetics and are usually willing to pay for them. But I really think that nursing homes need to allow residents more individual space.

I think this can be done and make the facility look nice at the same time. I just don't know about the Main Street idea.

I think baby boomers will be looking for the things they had at home like garden tubs with Jacuzzis, a nearby refrigerator and maybe a George Foreman grill.

Right now, where I am living, residents are not allowed to prepare their own food. They can have snacks, get snacks, and order out if they have the money. But making simple choices about different foods is not something that can be done daily.

Baby boomers complain about the food quite a bit. They also say there is nothing to do. So I think these are the areas that should be developed. Also developing new and different activities that would assist residents to keep busy during the day.