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Senior communities used to be most commonly found in rural areas, but that's a trend that's changing. Now, there's a growing interest in senior living facilities in urban locations. There are several reasons behind this, with the most compelling being access to everything nearby and wanting to remain closer to friends and familiar surroundings.
With that in mind, anyone who works in the senior housing development sector needs to be ready to change with the times and adjust to what seniors are looking for today. More seniors are speaking up and making their voices heard about wanting to remain in urban areas. The goal then becomes to help them do this as safely and effectively as possible.
In years past, senior living design used to be heavily focused on rural areas. Senior living facilities, 55-and-older mobile home parks, and similar options were constructed off the beaten path, in suburban communities and beyond. While those locations might have provided great opportunities for parks and green spaces, they also made many seniors feel disconnected.
For older people who don’t drive anymore or aren’t comfortable traveling long distances, modern amenities, and a rural senior community can create isolating circumstances, such as:
These factors can mean much less interaction with people than they are accustomed to. Because loneliness can contribute to depression, anxiety, and declining health, creating a senior living development in a rural area may not be the best thing for all seniors.
A lot of seniors are now looking to stay in urban areas or move to those areas for the community and interaction they provide. When seniors are in more urban locations, they can walk to a coffee shop, take a bus to the grocery store, and remain near people they've known for years, ultimately helping them age in place more comfortably.
As more seniors remain active and interested in the things to do around them, they still need senior housing architecture that can protect them as they age. For example, assisted living bathrooms with safe showers and bath options are excellent ways to make life easier for seniors and allow them to stay in more urban spaces.
Senior living facilities that are being constructed in these areas have to take into account that even active seniors can be more vulnerable to falls and other injuries, especially in the bath. With the change in senior living trends, some developers are interested in retrofitting older buildings in downtown areas to serve as senior facilities. The right bathroom options will make this easier.
A shower seat for seniors can be installed in every facility bathroom, to help create a safer option. The best shower for seniors is one that protects them from falling and gives them the opportunity to sit to bathe. Grab bars are also good choices, as they provide another point of security and contact for someone who may have balance or mobility issues.
With a big demand for mixed-use developments in urban spaces, seniors in these locations can have ADA-compliant bathrooms and facilities that make it easier to age in place. Mixed-use also makes it easier for these same seniors to get groceries and other items nearby, instead of having to travel. Often, grocery stores and shops are on the bottom floor, with apartments or other living arrangements above.
Providing ADA-compliant bathrooms in urban senior housing is one of the most impactful ways to help seniors age in a location they love. While there are many ways to work around issues with other parts of living space, bathrooms are an area with higher risks for falls and other injuries.
Safe showers for seniors can give them the confidence to continue living alone and enjoying life in an area where they're happy and have friends nearby. That can help improve their quality of life, keep them active, and potentially make aging less stressful for them.
As trends continue to change and many areas move toward an urban senior housing model, it's important for facility developers to understand and meet senior needs. Bathrooms that offer ADA compliant fixtures improve security for seniors and can give them the opportunity to age where they want to, instead of requiring them to move to a new location.
Ready to learn more? Contact our experts to discuss the latest innovations in senior housing development options and ADA-compliant bathroom design today.
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