The Case for Senior Care Facilities in New and Old Urbanism

Senior Care Facilities and housing targeted for seniors are ideal for popular traditional neighborhood developments (TNDs), redevelopment of existing villages, small towns and urban villages. These developments are community diverse in use with home, work, services and recreation within walking distance.

Integration of senior housing creates diversity in the community where aging in place means aging within the community. Family across generations can reside within the community/neighborhood decreasing social isolation and increasing family bonds.

Senior housing, assisted living and independent living facilities are ideal  to be located in the higher density town center area because of the adjacencies of public spaces, parks, services, shopping typically within immediate walking proximity. The automobile becomes a secondary mode of transportation, not the primary.

Senior care facilities can leverage food service to serve both the facility and public with street level adjacencies. Gathering and meeting spaces can be used by both residents and serve community members. Senior care medical and social services can be a resource for the community.

One of the biggest benefits in developing in a TND or existing community is being able to change with the market. You can traverse price points very quickly and not get locked into a monolithic price.  By the time you put in the sidewalks and streetlights, you are probably not saving much compared to conventional development, but the bigger benefit is that the cost of maintenance is less.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities can integrate into a TND or existing community by smart development that accommodates the modalities of care required as members age from independent living to ultimately nursing care if need be.  A person could be born in a TND, live and eventually age in place as within any small community.

But one of the biggest mistakes that developer/operators of senior care facilities is “placement of a prototype facility based on the usual rural/suburban care facility model. This model does not engage the community as a design that is specific to the site in a traditional neighborhood. The “typical” rural/suburban senior care facility is insular to the surrounding neighborhood with all services only geared to the facility itself.

If futurist are correct that the automobile will become mostly an “at call service” and not a personal possession, new development and infill /redevelopment of existing the built environment will be best served creating community that serves us from cradle to grave.

For case studies articles and  further reading:

New Look Senior Living


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