How can these design decisions influence the residents?‘Daily exposure to distinct periods of bright light during the daytime and true darkness at night are essential to synchronise our internal circadian system to the solar day, so that we are able function optimally … When these environmental cues are absent, weakened or experienced at the wrong time of day, our circadian system becomes disrupted. This disruption is associated with a wide range of adverse health outcomes including sleep disorders. The visual system of older people diminishes due to inevitable changes in the physiology of the eye and … without appropriate lighting, problems with the timing, duration, and quality of sleep can develop, which in turn may impact behaviour and health.'
(Karen van Creveld, MSc., FSLL)
Colour and lighting greatly influence our mood and appreciation of the space around us. Integrating this correctly where everything has a considered place, is key to design success. In an apartment or even in an amenity space, a focus towards maximising natural light significantly improves the daily experience especially when directly connected to accessible outdoor spaces.
The sociability and connective characteristics of outdoor spaces are fundamental to providing a sense of freedom and community for residents within a senior living setting. Through our designs, we look to create a variety of external spaces, of differing scales, types and uses, associating a theme to each, such as relaxation, recreation, or activity. The presence of water features and living walls, comfortable seating, the smells, and colours from the planting contribute significantly to the wellbeing of the community who are encouraged to use outdoor spaces to socialise and connect as would happen in a private garden.
The advancement of technology is another aspect that can enormously assist and improve the comfort and security of the residents and should be integrated into the design at early stage. Touchless controls, intensive air purification and water filtration and more interconnected sensors within apartments and rooms all benefit the residents greatly.
In the pursuit of designing ‘better homes’ for our aged and ageing population, we strive to provide better buildings through thoughtful design and collaborations with a wide range of specialist disciplines. This creates a unified and holistic approach which encourages care providers to deliver a new generation of exemplar ‘care home’ settings for residents to complete their exciting journeys through life. Stephane Piazza - Project Leader. https://thecareruk.com/the-impact-of-care-settings-on-resident-mood-and-wellbeing/