From parking lots to reception areas, from activity spaces to dining rooms, from hallways to elevators and health care offices to gyms, communities will be reexamining how spaces are used and devising new practices and protocols. Some of these changes will be temporary, put in place to meet the demands of this moment in time. But some of the changes that will be seen over the next few months will stick and evolve into more permanent features as new communities are built — with this in mind, this summer could provide early glimpses into the assisted living of the future.
After witnessing residents enduring long periods of isolation, providers and architects have spoken on the need to include balconies, patios or other outdoor access from individual living units. And courtyards and other outdoor spaces where multiple residents gather will be designed to accommodate social distancing, Mammina believes. For example, benches or other seating areas will be positioned at strategic distances and fixed to the ground.
I think these suggestions can be fairly easily recreated in your own home, or the home of a senior loved one. Do you have a covered porch or patio? You can create safe-distancing visitation spaces there. Can you put up a temporary canopy in a yard space? How about two separate screen houses? Is it time to add a three-season or Florida room? Think about colder months. Having good ventilation is proving to be crucial for stopping the spread of Covid-19. Is there a room in the home that you can shut off from the rest of the house and crack open a window? Would a small portable heater help with this situation? Socialization is so important for all of us, but particularly for our seniors. Get creative and brainstorm different options. There are solutions available to fit any budget, any living arrangement, and any season!