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“The biggest thing that I extracted from


it is that people in this industry have a lot of heart and they have a major positive outlook,” says report contributor Hillary DeGroff, IIDA, LEED AP, ID+C and associate principal. “Despite everything that's happened this past year, they are planning ahead. They're looking forward and they're going to come out on top, with new innovations.” Some providers reported making physical


building changes and changing activities processes to make socialization possible in pandemic conditions—from installing Plexi- glas barriers to creating outdoor visiting spaces to instituting all-day dining. Providers are taking a more holistic view


of health, says report contributor Leslie Moldow, FAIA, LEED AP. “And there’s Medicare Advantage also, where you're starting to see the medical models bridge into the social model. Care isn't only about your body, but about the environment in which it's cared for, and what supports you can get socially—which is even more poignant and more important after the COVID experience.” “We’re all realizing, whether we’re in


a senior living environment or not, how much our wellness is supported by social interaction,” says DeGroff. “Health starts to deteriorate in isolation. It’s interesting to think about new models and how they may be propelled forward because of this era.”


Technological solutions? Activities, the other big factor in socializa- tion, had senior living community leaders thinking creatively and innovatively as well. Some activities had to be adapted to be brought to individual residents, and some relied on technology. iN2L was connecting senior living resi-


dents through technology and personalized content well before the pandemic. It pro- vides the ability to create a personalized profile for each resident, which provides easy access to their favorite content, per- sonal photos, messages, and contacts. The company also does research to determine the value of its offerings and to uncover op-


portunities and challenges in senior living. “Technology enables a resident and a


community staff member to play checkers together every Friday, a group of residents to worship together with spiritual or religious content writes Taylor, the company CEO. “Communities should look at technolo-


gy as a conduit for social connection, not a replacement for it.” Technology from virtual reality to video


conferencing have been helping fight lone- liness during the pandemic. In fact, iN2L thinks of its services as a “non-clinical solu- tion…[T]echnology-enabled engagement is an intervention that can combat negative health outcomes, such as the anxiety and symptoms of depression that go along with loneliness,” Taylor writes. “We know that by engaging elders mean- ingfully and connecting them to others around them, we create higher levels of camaraderie and engagement, as well as a greater sense of purpose.


and control. But it’s also keeping socializa- tion in mind by including: • Large apartments with full-size kitchens and full-size refrigerators, making it eas- ier to host


• Juliet balconies, which provide both fresh air and a place to watch the world


• A breadth of covered terrace space out- doors that is large enough to hold four socially distanced family gatherings at a time


• Other visiting spaces that allow social distancing


• A space for visiting children to hang out and play video games


• Dining areas optimizing space and dis- tancing, so communal dining may not have to be shut down


Even with vaccines being delivered and families and friends being able to have contact once again, basic design features that emphasize light, fresh air, and lots of personal space, and activities that are mean-


“We’re all realizing, whether we’re in a senior living environment or not, how much our wellness is supported by social interaction,” says Hillary DeGroff, of Perkins Eastman architecture. “Health starts to deteriorate in isolation. It’s interesting to think about new models and how they may be propelled forward because of this era.”


The loneliness report data shows several opportunities for increasing socialization, such as making it easier to gather information about residents’ likes and dislikes, to make it easier for all staff to get to know residents, as well as greater personalization of activities so residents will find them more meaningful.


The future, today Already integrating some of these factors is Atria Newport Beach—the provider’s 85-residence “community of the future”, in California’s Orange County. It offers multiple design features and amenities for safety and infection prevention


ingful and personalized are likely to be fea- tures of senior living communities as soon as possible—if they’re not there already.


Innovative concepts The relevance—and, it turns out, pre- science—of Perkins’ Eastman’s Clean Slate project (perkinseastman.com/white-papers) proposed many innovations to address so- cialization, explicitly and by association. Published in June 2019, it’s still a fas-


cinating look at possible future models of senior living—some which are coming through faster than others. Intergenera- tional models, communities integrated into


JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 ARGENTUM.ORG 23


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