At Autumn Leaves, trends don’t define our design. Rather, residents’ needs drive every decision. We take each detail into account to create an environment in which people with dementia have the best chance to feel at home and to thrive. Making it pretty is easy; making it work is key.
We were absolutely thrilled when Autumn Leaves of Westover Hills was named one of five winners in Argentum’s 2016 Senior Living by Design Competition. This prestigious award recognizes Autumn Leaves’ latest prototype – the culmination of our nearly two decades in designing, developing, building, and operating communities that promote exceptional care and comfort for people with Alzheimer’s.
How did our design not only complement, but elevate our level of care? Here are just a few examples.
Technology: Our Westover Hills community features a specialized nurse call system for memory-impaired individuals – to create a calm, safe, and enjoyable environment.
Innovative use of space: One of our favorite floorplan additions is the relaxation room. It provides a quiet, private space where residents can explore all five senses to help them soothe anxiety and stimulate memory. When a resident feels overwhelmed, sad, agitated, or overstimulated, they can simply sit and find calm in this room. Experiences here include virtual stargazing, aromatherapy, soothing sounds such as rain or ocean waves, a relaxing video filled with serene images, and our wonderful fidget pillows which allow residents to channel their energy into specially crafted pillows with snaps, velcro, ties, wooden beads, soft fabric patches, and other objects that create a soothing tactile experience.
In our music and memories room, you will find headphones and digital music devices with generation-specific playlists for residents and family members to connect and engage across generations. We know that music can often reach people when words cannot and use music daily in our programming, but this is the first time a space has been specifically designated for that purpose.
Those who have visited other Autumn Leaves communities will also notice wider hallways laid out in a figure-eight format which allows residents to stroll safely without ever running into a dead end. The lighting was carefully chosen and strategically placed windows let in plenty of natural light. There are also sturdy handrails and ample seating throughout the halls so that residents can stop and rest as often as they like. Outside, we also have 3 enclosed courtyards for residents to explore with potting benches, vegetable gardens, and even a putting green.
Memory care presents a unique design challenge, but through years of experience and feedback from our staff, the designers and architects were able to deliver a winning combination of form and function. “Trends don’t define our design,” Director of Communications Laurie Hesser notes. “Rather, residents’ needs drive every decision. We take each detail into account to create an environment in which people with dementia have the best chance to feel at home and to thrive.”