Highlights from EFA.09 Sessions

Although the weather in Boston started off a little foggy, the Environments for Aging speakers came with a clear goal: our most frail and elderly need a better built environment of care and here’s how we’re gonna do it.

The EFA sessions provided a wealth of article ideas for LTL. Here’s a quick tour of some of the topics gathered by the editors. We’d like to know which interests you most; so please take the poll below.

Learning never stops
Lasell Village, a retirement home with an onsite skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Auburndale, MA, is one of a growing number of college-affiliated retirement communities. But it is the first to feature a formal, individualized, and required continuing education program for residents. The residents are able to walk to the connected campus of Lasell College and meet, learn, and play with younger generations. Residents complete a minimum of 450 hours of learning and fitness activity each calendar year.

Intergenerational care
Tom Payton, principal, Architectural Dimensions LLC, and Michelle Dionisio, president/CEO, Interfaith Community Care, presented Interfaith’s more recent project that includes both adult and child daycare services. The design of the building and its services, the land parcel’s ideal placement near a park and university campus, and a synergistic relationship with other social services has turned a simple daycare concept into a community attraction for all ages. The building houses adult daycare services, child daycare services, and a bisto that serves clients and the public. Ultimately, the site will create a hub of services where all ages can intermingle.

The Green House model

The Green House is a model of care that is simultaneously involved in changing the philosophy of care, the architecture of the built care environment, and the organizational structure of the care. Read “

Care model thinks small, generates big buzz at EFA” for more info.

Figure 1: Hyde said that if you are unsure if a hallway length is too long for your residents, throw some corns in your shoes and walk the distance five times—then you’ll know.

Walk a mile in their shoes (with corns)
Andrea V. Hyde, Hyde Incorporated, and Beverly Brandon, Rees Architects, brought up a couple interesting concepts on how residents and staff navigate a facility. They also had the most interesting props of all the sessions I attended (figure 1). They suggested that every LTC facility design or renovation should be based on a cognitive mapping of their space. A term borrowed from psychology, a cognitive map is sort of like the ethnographic info that your particular facility holds within its walls: how does each resident, staff member and visitor use your space? Follow individuals around and record this info. Then create bubble maps and flow diagrams that can inform your new design.

Hyde also brought up an interesting observation: Elderly residents love bright light (3X as much as a younger adult), which gives them more confidence and therefore more mobility. According to Hyde’s observations, staff at a number of homes she’s visited have either directly or subconsciously picked up on this and use low levels of light as a “passive restraint.”

Facebook updates and photos
I also set up my mobile phone to send updates to our Facebook page. Login to FB and check out more photos. If any readers are attending AAHSA’s Future of Aging conference this April, and you have a camera phone with text messages, we can easily setup your phone to the LTL Facebook page and you can help us cover the event.

Topics: Articles