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The clubhouse in a lifestyle and retirement village

As todays’ retiree’s lifestyle preferences continue to change, retirement offerings will have to adapt. The major difference between the former traditional retirement properties and those being developed today boils down to these lifestyle changes.

One of many amenities that constitute a successful lifestyle and retirement village, is a clubhouse. The clubhouse is not a luxury, but it summarises how a happy and healthy lifestyle should be.

A clubhouse is, in fact, the hub of all recreational activities under one roof. It is a place where each member of the family can find their space. It usually consists of a library, restaurant, chapel, gym, conference room and possibly a heated swimming pool and a hair & beauty salon. Apart from this, in many of the modern designs, there are outdoor courts. A one-roof solution for all recreation and fitness activities of a community.

Clubhouses are a great way to socialise. Since these clubhouses provide a common area to gather and engage in activities, it often brings people together. Moreover, it makes socialising pretty much easier without even going out of the gates of the community where you live.

For fitness enthusiasts, clubhouses are a great deal. This is where the gyms usually fit in. Most lifestyle and retirement villages come with a world-class gymnasium. With modern and good pieces of equipment, it helps in remaining fit and healthy.

Yet another advantage of having a spacious clubhouse is that it contains event holding spaces. Usually, there will be large open areas in a clubhouse which is used for gatherings and various social events.

For residents who enjoy reading, a library eliminates the need to go out of the estate in search of public reading spaces.

A clubhouse in a retirement village is a place which fosters community living. It brings people out of their homes and enables them to form part of a greater community.

These days people are more selective when it comes to buying a retirement home. Buyers are on the lookout for many factors and of course all of these factors together contribute to the value of their purchase. One such factor is the availability of a clubhouse. It has turned from a luxury to a necessity and thus an elementary part of retirement village living.

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd (Shire) is based in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and specialises in the provision of a range of services focused exclusively on the retirement industry. To view the villages that Shire is involved with, click here.


How retirement living developers can design for inclusion of the visually impaired

Developing sophisticated retirement villages for a growing market is a specialist field. Retirement living developers need to understand the lifestyle, challenges and preferences of the aging population.

One of many challenges faced by the aging population is visual impairment.  Approximately one person in three has some form of vision-reducing eye disease by the age of 65. The most common causes of vision loss among the elderly are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration is characterized by the loss of central vision.

Recently Jennifer Webster did a presentation at The Somerset Lifestyle and Retirement Village in Somerset West about age related visual degeneration and how one can adapt and use tools to assist in remaining independent for longer. Jennifer is the founder of Curable. Being visually impaired is a great bonus to sighted people who are wanting to design for inclusion. Jennifer has worked out some really unusual ways to navigate in physical spaces and digital platforms.

Jennifer Webster was diagnosed with Stargardts disease at the age of 10, a juvenile onset form of Macular Degeneration. She managed to complete mainstream schooling and has a BA Honours from Rhodes University. Married with grown up children she now spends her time helping to find solutions and encouraging others along the journey of vision loss. Jennifer shared her own story and some of the joys and struggles of coming to terms with a visual impairment.

Jennifer also took the time to give us an overview on the design and decor of The Somerset and how it impacts anyone with low vision. To watch her feedback video, click here.


The development of retirement villages is a specialist field and Shire consultants complete the standard professional team of developers who are planning or executing new retirement developments. Click here for details of projects that Shire has contributed to.


A positive environment for residents and future buyers is key to create a happy estate

Estate Living’s Zeenat Moosa Hassan wrote:

“Creating a happy estate community is essential. Happy residents enhance the estate’s reputation creating greater demand for homes which pushes up property values.

Here are five things that can help make your estate a happier one:

  1. Don’t underestimate the value of the happy hormone

Location and price will always be the most important factors for buyers, but the community spirit (gees) is an important factor too.  If buyers have ticked the location and price box, then amenities and facilities which foster community and inclusivity can often be the deciding factor.

Allocate a decent budget for community-led projects, and give the task of researching, implementing, and reviewing their effectiveness to a dedicated individual or team.

  1. Start with the basics

Buyers are attracted to estates that offer

  • amenities,
  • good security,
  • privacy and
  • a comfortable lifestyle.

These are core non-negotiables so make sure you don’t neglect them in your pursuit of community inclusivity.

Estates fortunate enough to have onsite facilities such as community centres, gyms, pools, restaurants, and sports amenities are in high demand because they offer a more relaxed and carefree lifestyle for the whole family. Mangers should do all they can to keep these facilities in optimal condition.

Post Covid-19 buyers and residents are also prioritising other comforts too. Many residents are now realising they can do business without having to commute daily to and from offices or sit for hours in traffic. To offer them the perfect lifestyle and happiness, things like having exceptional fibre to the home offering is essential.

  1. Focus on green spaces

Research shows that spending just twenty minutes outdoors a day, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve health and happiness.

Buyers want to buy into an estate that is beautiful and well managed. Western Cape estates have outdone themselves with gardens, water features, streams, walking paths and in some cases even vegetable gardens. Buyers are very excited by this, so it really is a no brainer.

Similarly, estates that are self-sustainable and offer energy and water security are quickly becoming the ones to watch when it comes to creating that happy, feel-good atmosphere.

  1. One size doesn’t fit all

Creating inclusivity can be challenging on a larger estate with different residents from different backgrounds and ages, but it isn’t impossible. Some of the larger estates hosts numerous community centres, each appealing to a different portion of the estate community.

By segmenting amenities and facilities, management can easily notice gaps in their service offering.

  1. Communication is key

Creating and maintaining a culture of open and transparent engagement is one of the best ways of understanding the needs of residents and making them feel valued.”

To continue reading the rest of this article, click here.

Longevity gifts us with more years and choices that need to be made around life, work, and family. In our parents’ generation the establishment of “old age” homes and nursing facilities were a choice many made as part of their plan beyond their working life. The next generation, known to many as the baby boomers are now aged 56 to 74. They have many more options and choices. To find out more, click here.

The changing world of retirement living

The changing world of retirement living

Lynda Smith is the CEO of 50+ Skills and Refirement Networka business involved in helping organisations and Individuals 50+ to understand the opportunities and challenges that the future holds for this demographic group. She is an accredited retirement coach in South Africa through Retirement Options USA.


Lynda writes:

“Longevity gifts us with more years and choices that need to be made around life, work, and family. In our parents’ generation the establishment of “old age” homes and nursing facilities were a choice many made as part of their plan beyond their working life. The next generation, known to many as the baby boomers are now aged 56 to 74. They have many more options and choices. Let’s look at what these may be.  In many cases, two generations will be living side by side, but may have quite different needs.

  1. Current Old Age homes that have large numbers of residents 75-100
  2. New Life Rights type villages with cottages and apartments.
  3. New Sectional Title Villages for an Over 50 Market.
  4. Choosing to stay in an inter-generational community close to family.
  5. Remaining in your own home and bringing in services as you need them.
  6. Downsizing from your larger home into something smaller.

This new generation is larger in size and is currently being bombarded with many choices. This generational group has seen the world change greatly over their 56-74 years of life. Each shared cultural moment affected their values, beliefs, and mindsets—creating new generational ideals different from their parents in the Silent Generation. Values like individualism, independence, control, and value define their thinking. Many in this generation are familiar with the concept of “old age” homes as they helped their parents make these decisions and have engaged over the past 20 years in what this model offers. Some of these perceptions may be positive, but many may not be. This can have an impact on sales into this style of living looking to market to the next generation.

Some of the marketing messages that are key for this generation can include the following:

  • Health and Wellness facilities
  • Reliable Fibre Network Solutions
  • Choices around equity and growth of property
  • Security
  • Customized services and personalisation.
  • Care services in their homes on demand
  • Business services
  • Close location to great shopping centres and medical facilities
  • Remaining an active part of the larger community

Within this cohort of baby boomers, the needs will differ. The older group may align more easily with some of the current status quo, but the younger group will demand much more as they enter this market. Managing agents and developers need to be prepared for this potential market.

The challenges from the market are also varied and causing other challenges that need to be addressed. The sale of primary homes is taking longer, and prices have dropped. Sadly, this is the most divorced generation ever to enter this season of life and many cannot afford that current offering. Many have not managed to complete work to the age of 65 for a variety of reasons and this presents less money to invest for this season.  High levies could also be impacting a sale.

There are challenges on both sides of this opportunity and developers and owners of retirement homes, need to do deep research to ensure that there are a range of possibilities that meet the needs of the current market. Please also ensure that your sales teams are equipped and ready to deal with this new generation coming your way.  Individuals need to understand the different opportunities, ask the right questions, and make sound decisions to ensure that this season of life is filled with the best that life has to offer for them.”


The development of retirement villages is a specialist field and Shire consultants complete the standard professional team of developers who are planning or executing new retirement developments. Click here for details of projects that Shire has contributed to.


Why Retirement Lifestyle Villages are a lifeline to elderly people battling COVID-imposed isolation

Why Retirement Lifestyle Villages are a lifeline to elderly people battling COVID-imposed isolation

“As the socio-demographic group most at risk of falling severely ill or even dying after contracting COVID-19, there’s no doubt that the over-60’s has been the worst affected by the pandemic. However, the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the older generation reaches beyond the risks to their physical health.

“To make matters worse, the elderly are not only battling the physical health effects of the virus, they’re also facing the toll that the virus has taken on their mental health – thanks to COVID-imposed isolation”, explains Gus van der Spek (property developer and owner of a life rights company).

“Many elderly people across South Africa live alone and had already been struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness before the pandemic began, but with the very real threat of COVID-19, these issues only worsened.”

How an existing threat to elderly wellbeing was exacerbated by COVID-19

Loneliness and social isolation for those not living in retirement communities is a well-documented issue facing the older generation, brought on by factors such as the loss of a partner, having family emigrate, losing touch with friends and withdrawing from community activities.

“The physical and mental health risks to elderly people living in isolation are numerous: it increases the risk of premature death, dementia and is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide,” explains van der Spek.

The threat of COVID-19 forced even elderly people with community ties and family nearby to go into isolation. Government communication urged over-60’s to stay home as much as possible and family members and friends needed to stay away to reduce the risk of infecting the more vulnerable older generation. Churches and other community centres (which formed the basis of many of these individuals’ social lives) had to close their doors.

“To add to this, while the rest of the world turned to technology as a tool to keep them connected to loved ones, many elderly people struggled to adapt to these tools, especially those who lived alone with no one around to walk them through it,” adds van der Spek.

Community living as a lifeline

Thankfully, not all over-60’s were left to grapple with the physical and mental challenges of COVID-19 on their own. “Those residing in retirement communities were able to interact with their friends and friendly staff members on a daily basis,” he says.

While it is true that nursing homes and frail-care were hit particularly hard by COVID-19 as they were often the location for concentrated outbreaks, van der Spek explains that is unfortunately as a result of the close living conditions in these facilities and the underlying health conditions typically found in nursing home and frail-care residents.

“However, those who had opted to live in retirement lifestyle villages and estates were able to isolate in their own units, with plenty of space to themselves while still interacting safely ‘masked-up’ outdoors with other residents and staff when necessary”.

“Residents of these kinds of retirement communities were able to have the best of both worlds – they had the safety of their own units rather than a single room in close contact to other sick people, and they were able to interact with their neighbours safely outdoors within the boundaries of a safe, access-controlled environment,” he adds.

More senior living options to combat elderly isolation

Van der Spek says he is partly motivated by the desire to combat isolation amongst the elderly and to give them a home that promotes overall wellbeing. “Research indicates that community living has proven to significantly improve the physical and mental health and happiness of the older generation, and we’re proud that our Estate will soon be a part of those efforts.”

Six ways in which living in retirement lifestyle estates help to combat elderly isolation:

1) An abundance of new friends close by. “While there are obviously more ways to connect with your friends and neighbours without the threat of COVID-19, it is still possible to socialise with your neighbours outdoors, with masks on and while 1.5 metres apart.”

2) Staff on hand to talk through needs. “If residents are feeling lonely or that they have no one to talk to about their emotions, they know that professional staff are always on hand to listen and offer solutions where possible.”

3) Assistance with connecting to loved ones. “Many elderly people desperately want to video-chat with family and friends who they aren’t able to see in person, but they are unsure of how to go about it. The Estates staff are able to help get them set-up and comfortable with using these tools.”

4) Beautiful grounds to socialise safely outdoors. “If you’re not comfortable interacting closely with other people yet but would still like to see them and wave hello, many retirement villages feature beautiful gardens so that you don’t have to be stuck inside on your own all day.”

5) Access to top medical practitioners who can spot the signs of elderly people suffering from loneliness before it escalates. “As feelings of isolation can lead to depression, anxiety and even thoughts of suicide, it’s important to have access to medical practitioners who can identify and treat these symptoms.”

6) Smart technology that keeps a watchful eye. “Some retirement villages use smart technology such as sensors in the floor next to the resident’s bed to monitor if they’ve gotten up that day. This is primarily used as way to detect if a resident is ill but could also be used as an way to detect symptoms of depression.”

“Finally, once the threat of COVID-19 subsides, most retirement lifestyle villages and estates will organise regular community events and activities to encourage socialisation among residents and ensure that there is a strong sense of community to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly,” van der Spek concludes.”


Shire offers Development Consulting: Assisting Property Developers in the planning and execution of all key elements of new retirement villages. To contact us, click here.

Retirement Village patriarchy

Retirement Village patriarchy 

Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

My daughter will be 18 years old this month. I find it hard to believe, and yet it is true. Soon she will  no longer require a lift to the beach or anywhere else, as she spreads her wings and finds her feet in  this world. A world dominated by men and in which she must learn to thrive. I have little doubt that  she will do so! 

Facing the reality of her pending adulthood has brought about a change in me too. It is a change that  has perhaps come late in my life, but I have a few years of fight left in me and I sense the need to be  less complicit in a situation that requires urgent attention. 

My work focus over the past ten years has been to understand and improve the so-called “Retirement  Village”. “Retirement” is an irksome term, but it is useful because everyone knows what you are  talking about – that stage of life when many people sense the need to gear down, take an interest in  less money-making activities and “smell the roses”. For some that stage is at age 55 and for others it  is at age 88 – or it never comes. 

It will come as a shock to nobody that many retirement villages and retirement organisations are dominated by men – especially during the early years of development. I have been comfortable in  that environment, but am becoming less and less so, as I have begun to realise the very far-reaching  impact of that male domination. 

An 88-year-old lady recently stood up rather shakily in a meeting and asked whether I did not think  that the organisation that owned the village in which she lives, should not have at least one woman  on the board of trustees. I had to agree, despite being employed by those same good gentlemen. 

Too often, houses and common facilities are designed by men, the engineering is done by men, men  run the service organisations and men run the village as trustees, directors and committee chairmen. 

This all despite the fact that the vast majority of retirement villages (if not all) are mostly populated  by ….. WOMEN! 

Women outlast men by a significant factor, and while this is an uncomfortable reality for men to face,  it is a fact. Almost from the first batch of occupants, women will be in the majority. 

Surely there is a pressing need for more women to take an interest in influencing the early  development of retirement villages. More property developers need to have women involved in the  reviews of house layouts and in the types and formats of services offered. 

It is heartening to see the level of female involvement in the management of certain villages. There  is no shortage of talent and strength, and one has to wonder why in some villages, so few women  stand for election as trustees. Perhaps they have little appetite for the power-plays within the male dominated boards of trustees – often comprising several ex-captains of industry? 

If this matter is to be remedied, women will have to step up and men will have to step back – realising  that women must shape the environment that they will live in for the longest. Their needs must thus  be placed first. 

Author: Rob Jones: MD – Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd (Shire) is based in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and specialises in the provision of a range of services focused exclusively on the retirement industry.

Changes coming to retirement villages

Changes coming to retirement villages

Bonnie Fourie from wrote on the 26th October 2020: CHANGES COMING TO RETIREMENT VILLAGES

“Modern villages are following the worldwide trend towards professionally managed home-based care to allow retirees to live in their own homes.

Covid-19 will prompt modifications to the way estates function, with more home-based care and a different approach to frail care, say experts.

The Covid-19 outbreak in South Africa and the lockdown that followed had a detrimental effect on the country’s retirees, changing their ways of life and the operational processes of the retirement villages they live in.

Considering the risks associated with contracting the virus – and other future viruses – for the elderly, these shifts will no doubt have to become the new normal in retirement accommodation and be factored into new village designs.

During the height of the pandemic, the number of people attending care centres across the province dwindled markedly as retirees moved into home-based care or temporary assisted living.

This is a movement that will become “more of the norm”. People are more comfortable with being treated in their own spaces where that is possible.

Access to open spaces was also appreciated during the pandemic with many retirement village residents welcoming such offerings during a time when they could not leave the estate except to purchase basic necessities.

This means common areas and green spaces within estates would become key features of differentiation. Freestanding units with their own gardens will also be a key point for new purchasers. People who found themselves in apartments with limited ability to move around clearly felt the effects of the pandemic more seriously.

The pandemic and lockdown is a difficult time for all retirement villages, with many advising that a significant number of residents suffered from anxiety and depression. Regular interaction and communication with residents were crucial and those who were suffering the most stress through not being able to have family visits, had to be closely monitored.

All communal facilities were closed, but fortunately, where units have relatively large gardens and many of them surrounded by open green areas, residents could maintain social contact.

The model of home-based nursing care is a winner in this type of situation, rather than the traditional frail-care model.

In fact, the provision of health-care facilities is the biggest change being seen – and needs to be made – in the design of retirement villages.

The traditional frail-care model has become prohibitively expensive and requires increasing financial support, either from the resident population or from an outside benefactor, to remain financially viable. Modern villages are following the worldwide trend towards professionally managed home-based care.

This model will include a clinic staffed by professional nursing staff and a small “emergency” frail-care facility, but the main care is performed by registered caregivers in the comfort of one’s own home, supervised by the professional nursing staff.

Rob Jones, retirement-living consultant to The Somerset Lifestyle and Retirement Village in the Western Cape, agrees: “Retirement villages will retain many of the same elements that they have had until today, however, those services will need to be offered in a very different way than before.

Gone are the days of regimented, institutional frail-care units, run in a hospital-like fashion.” Another change being seen is the disappearance of the “onerous compulsory levies” that require residents to take all main meals in the communal dining room.

A number of new services are also arising. “The reason for these changes relates to the modern crop of retirees – many of whom are still very active and who often do not self-identify as ‘old’, even though the corporate world no longer thinks it needs them.”

To cater for these evolutions and ensure that elderly residents still receive the care they need, the “big trend” both here and overseas is to offer various wellness features within senior living facilities.

These include fitness programmes; healthy eating plans and options; planned social activities; lifelong-learning courses; volunteer opportunities and wellness education workshops.

In addition, from a design perspective, senior living communities are now attractive, modern and appealing places to live, underpinned by the requisite operational and hospitality services.

Availability of care and support is critical as people live longer, and aspects such as dementia care need to be addressed… People also want choice as to how their care and support is delivered and senior living operators must cater for this.”

To continue reading this article, click here.

The development of retirement villages is a specialist field and Shire consultants complete the standard professional team of developers who are planning or executing new retirement developments. To view the portfolio of retirement developments that Shire Properties (Pty) Ltd are involved with, click here.

Americans’ Retirement Outlook Largely Intact

Americans’ Retirement Outlook Largely Intact

Gallup‘s reporter Lydia Saad, wrote on 28 April 2020, that Americans’ retirement outlook is largely intact.

  • Most still expect to rely on Social Security, 401(k) for retirement
  • Slightly more say part-time work will supply some income
  • Non-retirees still expect to retire at age 66, on average

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Non-retired Americans’ expectations for what their income sources will be in retirement are broadly similar to a year ago. Most say they will rely to varying degrees on

  • Social Security,
  • retirement savings accounts,
  • regular savings accounts or CDs, and
  • part-time work.

Solid majorities also foresee depending to some extent on home equity and individual stock investments.

U.S. Non-retirees’ Expectations for Sources of Retirement Income – % Major/Minor Source

When you retire, how much do you expect to rely on each of the following sources of money – will it be a major source of income, a minor source of income, or not a source at all?

Apr 2-11, 2018 Apr 1-9, 2019 Apr 1-14, 2020
% % %
Social Security 84 83 88
A 401(k), IRA, Keogh or other retirement savings account 74 80 80
Other savings such as a regular savings account or CDs 67 68 73
Part-time work 65 64 70
The equity you have built up in your home 60 64 63
Individual stock or stock mutual fund investments 52 58 62
A work sponsored pension plan 45 49 51
Annuities or insurance plans 37 40 41
Money from an inheritance 34 39 35
Rent and royalties 34 36 32

Still, non-retirees today may be counting a bit more than they did last year on certain income sources. This includes a six-percentage-point increase, (from 64% to 70%) in those saying part-time work will be a major or minor source of retirement income for them and five-point increases in expected reliance on Social Security (from 83% to 88%) and personal savings accounts or CDs (from 68% to 73%).

Meanwhile, despite the recent economic slowdown and stock market decline stemming from the coronavirus, Americans are no less likely than they were a year ago to foresee relying on home equity, individual stock investments, money from an inheritance or rental/royalty income. And they are no more likely to anticipate relying on a pension or annuities or insurance plans.

These findings are from the 2020 installment of Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, conducted April 1-14.

Americans Don’t Yet Foresee Delaying Retirement

Another indication that the COVID-19 economy isn’t rattling consumers’ long-term financial outlook comes from non-retirees’ estimate of the age at which they expect to retire, currently averaging 66. This is similar to the average expected age of retirement recorded each year since 2009.

The figure was typically below age 65 in prior years, in part reflecting the lower age at which Americans were eligible for their full Social Security benefits. The age of eligibility has been increasing according to a schedule Congress passed in 1983.

Income Sources of Retired Americans

The same poll asks retired Americans about their current reliance on the same 10 retirement income sources.

While self-reports of most income sources did not change in the past year, there has been a slight decrease since 2019 in those relying on individual stock or stock mutual fund investments. Retired Americans also report increased reliance on personal savings and pensions. The current levels are, however, similar to 2018, so it is unclear if the latest changes reflect financial pressure on seniors from the COVID-19 crisis, or just normal year-to-year variation given the smaller sample size of retirees.

U.S. Retirees’ Sources of Retirement Income – % Major/Minor Source

How much do you rely on each of the following sources of income today — is it a major source of income, a minor source of income, or not a source at all?

Apr 2-11, 2018 Apr 1-9, 2019 Apr 1-14, 2020
% % %
Social Security 90 90 89
A work sponsored pension plan 57 49 63
A 401(k), IRA, Keogh or other retirement savings account 61 61 62
Other savings such as a regular savings account or CDs 59 48 60
The equity you have built up in your home 48 47 46
Individual stock or stock mutual fund investments 45 48 41
Annuities or insurance plans 29 35 33
Rent and royalties 18 22 26
Money from an inheritance 22 19 21
Part-time work 18 21 21

Bottom Line

With most Americans still retaining their jobs and taking no hit to their income, many have yet to personally experience the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, their ratings of their current financial situation are down only slightly. And their concern about having enough money for retirement is up only slightly.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Founded in 2010 by Rob Jones  in response to a clear need in the South African retirement industry for specialist independent consultants, Shire Retirement Properties is focused exclusively on the retirement industry. To read more about the services on offer by Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd, click here.

An unusual approach to architectural design to help the elderly with mental problems

An unusual approach to architectural design to help the elderly with mental problems

Robertas Lisickis, BoredPanda staff member wrote in his article:

This Nursing Home For The Elderly With Mental Problems Took An Unusual Approach To Design

None of us can honestly predict what life will be like for us when we retire. While many spend their golden years doing whatever they always wanted to but never could, some aren’t so lucky.

The body grows weak and the risk of physical as well as mental illness increases significantly as the years go by. The time that many of us are prematurely planning to be spent finally writing that book or finally getting that hobby workshop set up may be cut short by things like Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

A nursing home in Ohio that takes care of many elderly people that are suffering from memory problems decided to rethink the traditional nursing home formula.

An assisted living facility in Ohio decided to break with tradition when it comes to nursing homes.

Lantern, an assisted living facility in Ohio and a number of other locations around the US, revamped their indoor spaces to look like an authentic neighborhood. The facility features living units that look like houses, equipped with porches and everything. There’s carpeting that looks like grass, ceiling lighting that mimics a partly-cloudy sky, and other decorative elements like street lights and garden-like flora.

Bored Panda got in touch with Jean Makesh, the CEO of Lantern and the man behind this idea. We asked him about the origins of this idea: “I simply wanted to address the pain. I always believed and to this day believe that if I don’t, who else will?”

He continued: “As an occupational therapist, a caregiver, a care provider, and a businessman, it is my responsibility to take care of my elderly clients and families. The design I have in all my communities are influenced by the elderly clients that I served over time and serve now. I made a conscious and a difficult decision to only listen to my elderly clients. They taught me everything I know today.”

Its “neighborhood” design aims to provide a healthy environment to the elderly with memory problems.

Besides the looks, the nursing home also strives to mimic the feel of the place by setting up ambient sound and smell. So, whenever the inhabitants leave their units, they are greeted by friendly bird chirping and the smells of the outside. This way, all of their senses are stimulated to feel as if they never left their homes to live in a nursing facility.

Makesh explained that the environment is key in dealing with memory illness and other typical mental problems of the elderly years. Alzheimer’s patients, for example, experience a great amount of confusion in elderly homes, so creating a more familiar setting helps to alleviate their struggles.

“As an occupational therapist, I was trained to approach everything scientifically. I researched every concept to ensure that my designs were scientific and had elements of science to support everything that my elderly clients taught me,” explained Makesh.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

The development of retirement villages is a specialist field and Shire consultants complete the standard professional team of developers who are planning or executing new retirement developments. To find out more about us, click here.

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