The Connecticut architects at Richard Turlington Architects, are part of the baby boomers that are starting to inundate the long-term healthcare industry, there is an emerging need for treating a large number of people who are suffering from different degrees of memory issues.
Richard Turlington Architects is a unique relationship with this specific healthcare niche. Richard Turlington’s father suffered for many years with dementia for over 7 years. His father struggled with memory loss and retention. Richard Turlington watched the facilities his father visited struggle with properly managing these types of memory issues and the toll it takes on a memory care patient with the change of environment. The key interior design elements for memory care environments include colors, patterns and hallways- each having a critical role in defining spatial uniqueness to help patients remember where they are and provide consistency.
Senior living is where people live. Often the same elements used in hospitality (hotels) are placed in senior facilities. But people do not live in hotels. Senior residences need a more residential feel and the “hotel living experience” must be eradicated.
From an interior design position spatial experiences have the ability to create spaces where people want to go, not have to go is something that has been historically lacking from most long term nursing facilities. Introducing differently configured common spaces so each resident can gravitate toward what is comfortable to them is what we want to give to the wave of baby boomers that may need help in a new memory care environment.
In Healthcare design, nothing says I am an institution like a long hallway. Yet on most existing facilities that were built in the 90’s, the hallway issue is a hurdle to get over. Knowing that double loaded corridors are functionally inherent to healthcare, the corridors can be treated as interactive social streets by using a variety of disguises to distract from the runway effect such as flooring elements, ceiling treatments and "portals" that frame each resident's entry.
It is hard to believe you are enjoying an evening stroll if there is an oxygen cart and wheelchair along the way with drab walls and VCT flooring. By making each hallway unique is one easy way in providing a individualized entry to resident rooms, it helps residents provide a mental map and can eliminate aimless wandering.
Richard Turlington Architects feels strongly that “going bold” is far more effective than watered down, ubiquitous colors and bland patterns. The color palette must rely on contrasting colors. For patterns, bold prints will carry a room and add feeling.