Can You Design a One Stop Shop Assisted Living Building?

Is it Possible to Design an Assisted Living Building to be a One Stop Shop?

The answer is yes, it is possible in theory, however the better question is, can a one stop shop design offer the best quality of life to most of the residents? I would venture to say no, because to design a community to fit your resident’s needs, you have a clear picture of who your resident will be, and design for their needs and preferences.

Who Lives in a One Stop Shop Design Building?


Many Assisted Living Communities attempt to be home, for a wide range of seniors, with a wide range of needs. This spectrum includes seniors with no to early mild dementia and no care needs, seniors that require ADL assistance ranging from standby to full assistance, as well as seniors in the late mild to late moderate dementia. Although these communities can market to a broader senior population, are all their residents getting the most of their community? Let’s break the spectrum into 4 groups of seniors and explore this further.

The Design Element of a One Stop Shop. Let’s Break It Down.

I am listing just a few of the preferences as well as needs, for each of the four groups, that a one stop shop building will need to accommodate.

Group 1 (independent senior that still drives some)

  • Large floor plans, full kitchens (this group has no care costs to incur now)
  • Multiple Dining Venues such as a bistro where you can get a sandwich (so they can come and go without missing a meal)
  • Flexible Dining Times
  • A Bar for Happy Hour
  • Computer Classes
  • Lots of Exercise Classes such as dancing and yoga, an Exercise Facility with exercise bikes
  • Lots of different community amenities throughout- completely fine with a multi-story building, if it means more amenities

Group 2 (needs stand by ADL assistance)

  • Less expensive smaller floor plans options (this group is incurring some care costs)
  • Transportation offered by the community
  • Exercise Classes such as chair exercises
  • Multiple Dining Venues
  • Amenities and Activities near their own living quarters

Group 3 (Seniors who need hands on ADL assistance)

  • Less expensive smaller floor plans options (this group incurring the most care costs)
  • Visiting medical professionals (limited mobility makes traveling difficult)
  • Amenities very near to living quarters, as well as mobile amenities that can come to them
  • Amenity areas they can use- this group can no longer enjoy an exercise bike, or a pool

Group 4 (Senior with late Mild-Moderate Dementia)

  • Smaller floor plans to minimize confusion. Also incurring care costs at this level
  • Set meal times in one place (we know structure is key to those with dementia)
  • This one dining area should be fairly close to living quarters to minimize confusion
  • Dementia friendly amenity areas such as a multi-purpose activity room (computer lab or a library are no longer an important amenity for many of these residents. Many of these residents are no longer able to drink so a bar is not important)
  • Visiting medical professionals
  • Smaller building design to lessen the confusion. (this group can no longer safely navigate a large building and find spread out amenity areas)

Is There Some Overlap with Needs and Preferences between Some of the Groups?

Although some of the needs and preference to overlap, there becomes a point that the preference of one group of seniors are the opposite of the preferences/needs of another group of seniors.  Group 1 wants active, spread out amenities, in and outside the community. They want to do these activities in amenity areas through out the building. Group 2’s preferences do somewhat overlap with group 1. However, when you get to group 3 and 4, you notice no overlapping, but on the contrary conflicting needs and preferences. Another area where needs and preferences come to a head for the 4 groups is dining. Group 1 wants flexible dining times and multiple venues. Group 2 may also use these, but when you get to group 3, who is not able to get to these venues without assistance that preference diminishes. In many cases group 3 needs assistance with dining, such as making sure their foods are cut up, salad dressing is open, so a grab and go bistro is no longer a needed amenity. When you get to group 4, you notice a conflicting need with groups 1 and 2.  Group 4 likes to eat at the same time, in the same place, with the same people for the most part. Also notice that the amenity preferences decrease as the care needs increase.  Group 1 are the most active seniors, who also have the most amenity preferences.


The Take Away..

There are many areas where design needs and preferences overlap for some groups. They overlap for groups with similar physical and cognitive deficits. Group 1 had some similar preferences as group 2, but very few if any of the same preferences of group 3 and 4. Also once you got to Group 3 and 4, some of the preferences turn into needs due to physical and cognitive deficits.

One building can be designed for a spectrum of needs, but when that spectrum gets too large, some group will be left out from enjoying the entire community. Although it is easier to lease up a building with a larger pool of prospects, it is very difficult to cost effectively design a space that meets such a large spectrum of needs. The design element of a one stop shop is difficult to manage, although this element is a piece of cake compared to the care and engagement piece. It is almost impossible to provide care and engagement in a one stop shop community, and to do it well for everyone.

Visit to view future posts about providing care and engage00001196852_awment in a one stop shop building.

5 Activities for Seniors with Dementia

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Connecting with others is an essential part of being human – and that remains the same when a person has dementia. We’re often asked, “What are good activities for dementia patients?”. There are still many ways you can continue to form connections and strengthen bonds with your loved one during this time.

People with dementia turn to long-term memories of their childhood. Their minds seem to only recall their younger years, and this is often where connections can be made. The next time you visit with your loved one, try one or more of the following activities to create a connection with them:

Look Through Photo Albums
Find up photo albums with pictures from your loved one’s childhood or young adulthood to connect with old memories. Past periodicals are another good option, particularly those that include many photos such as Life or Time magazines.

Make a Playlist
Download songs or set up a radio on Pandora that streams music from their teenage years. Many internet radio stations include everything from classic rock to big band sounds, their favorite music should be easy to find.

Go Through Old Cookbooks
In the past, women spent a great deal of their teenage years learning to cook and young adult years cooking for their families. Ask about the origins and different variations used in old family recipes. For even bettr results cook with those old family recipes and reap the rewards with your loved ones.

Enjoy Favorite Treats
Buy some candy or other treats that were common when your loved one was young. Many companies specialize in nostalgic candy where you can buy old favorites.

Visit and Connect with Animals
People who grew up on farms may enjoy an outing to a petting zoo or family farm where they can touch and talk to horses and other farm animals. Ask questions about animals, old pets, or what it was like for them to grow up on a farm. This is a great activity to involve grandchildren in.

Your loved one may seem different than the person you’ve always known, but they still deserve connection and companionship with you. You can strengthen that connection by applying these activities to enhance both of your lives. If your loved one needs help and you need assistance to make sure they are living a happy and productive life, contact us here. We can give you the Orchard difference.

Reasons to Move to an Assisted Living Community


Thinking about making the move to an assisted living community in Decatur? Here are our reasons why moving to the Orchard might be right for you or your loved one.

No More Home Maintenance Troubles
Say goodbye to the days of calling a handyman or plumber that leave you with an expensive bill. No more raking leaves in the fall or watering outdoor plants and grass in the summer. Home maintenance can become a sizable and costly burden that’s all lifted once moved to an assisted living community.

Chauffeured Around Town
You may not get a private chauffeur, but you do get transportation to and from your important appointments like doctor or dental visits. Transportation is also provided to group activities outside of the community including restaurants and local events.

Activities Galore
Some can compare it to being on a cruise because activities play a large part in daily life at Orchard assisted living community. Seniors can enjoy staying active doing those activities that interest them most. Activities can include movie nights, arts and crafts, exercise classes and more.

Safety First
It’s nice to know that help is available 24/7 at the Orchard. We are equipped with safety bars, ramps, emergency alert systems and staff trained in emergency response. You can take comfort in knowing that the appropriate precautions have been taken to reduce the risk of dangerous falls and to keep your loved one as safe as possible.

If you or your loved one is considering a move to a senior living community, such as an assisted living facility contact The Orchard here.

Tips for Seniors to Avoid Heat Stroke/Exhaustion

Ways-Seniors-Stay-Safe-in-Summer-Heat-01-pg-fullHot weather can be dangerous here in Georgia, and seniors are more inclined to its threat. Elderly heat stroke and heat exhaustion are real problems. There are several reasons for elderly heat vulnerability. A person’s ability to notice fluctuations in their body temperature decreases with age. Many seniors also have underlying health conditions that make them less able to adjust to heat or medication that can cause dehydration. Fortunately, only a few simple precautions are all that’s needed to keep safe.

Here are a few tips for keeping cool in hot weather:

Drink Plenty of Liquids

Dehydration is the root of many heat-related health problems. Drink plenty of water or juice, even if you’re not thirsty. But remember to avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration.

Wear Weather Appropriate Clothes
When it’s hot out, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes and consider a wide-brimmed hat.

Stay Indoors During Mid-day Hours
When it’s the hottest outside, the best time to run errands or be outdoors is before 10am or after 6pm, when the temperature is cooler.

Relax and Take it Easy
Avoid exercise and strenuous activity, particularly outdoors, when it’s very hot out.

Watch the Local Heat Index
When there’s high humidity, the body’s ability to cool itself through sweating is impaired. The heat index can be found online or also on local TV and radio weather reports.

Orchard at Tucker features 20,000 sf of enclosed secured outdoor space for residents and families

Secure, Enclosed Outdoor Space is one of the best amenities in Assisted Living and Memory.  Vitamin D is necessary for everyone, but according to WebMD and other reputable sources it is crucial

Tucker Assisted Living

Orchard at Tucker Assisted Living & Memory Care featuring 20,000 sf enclosed garden for seniors.