Design Ideas for a One Bedroom Assisted Living Apartment
As people are living longer, the percentage of seniors (age 65 and older) in the total population of many countries is rising. This is positively influencing housing design and decorating trends for seniors. New products and features are appearing that support safer, more comfortable, and more stylish senior living.
Many seniors choose to stay in their homes and add accessible features as they age. Another popular option is assisted living facilities, for those who need or want help with some of the activities of daily living. Assisted living facilities often provide meals, cleaning and laundry services, gardening, and access to someone 24 hours/day. Assisted living facilities can be converted homes with space for a few seniors, apartment units, or purpose-built accommodations.
Some important considerations in senior and assisted living spaces are:
- Extra navigation space – whether or not a walker or wheelchair is needed at move-in time, having the space available to use one in the future is a good idea.
- Kitchen functionality – how many and which appliances to provide, given that most assisted living facilities provide some meals.
- Design and style elements – an assisted living apartment does not have to look like a hospital room. With the products available today, assisted living units can be stylish and design-oriented.
Extra Navigation Space
Many assisted living facilities are “designed for accessibility”. This means that the design incorporates features to make it usable for people with a disability, whether it be limited mobility, sight, or hearing.
One of the first things you may notice on the floor plan above is a dotted circle, called a “wheelchair circle” which shows the space required to turn a wheelchair 360 degrees. The floor plan above has three wheelchair circles, used to demonstrate that the unit is designed to support wheelchair use if needed.
This floor plan also shows wide hallways, as well as wide pocket doors instead of normal swing doors. A standard wheelchair is 24-27” (approx. 600- 690 mm) wide. In order to accommodate a wheelchair, doors should be at least 32” (815 mm) wide but ideally 36” (915 mm) wide. The extra space allows for easy access for a wheelchair, especially if the door is accessed from a hallway, and you’ll have to turn the wheelchair to enter. Tip: If you are interested in more detailed accessibility specifications, see the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The image below shows one of the wide doors in this apartment. Additionally, the transition between the wood and tile flooring is flat, or a level threshold, to make it easier to roll a walker or wheelchair through the door.
The kitchen area in an assisted living apartment is usually small since most assisted living facilities provide some or all meals. This kitchen features a quartz counter and large stone tiles on the walls and backsplash. The storage cabinets are shown in the popular shaker style and are all lower so that items are easily accessible. The built-in mini-refrigerator blends into the decor because it uses a custom front shaker-style panel. A microwave and coffee maker are also provided – there is no oven or stove since most full meals are provided in the shared dining area of an assisted living facility.
Design and Style Elements
The design elements for this assisted living apartment shows that senior living can be stylish as well as safe and accessible.
The vanity sink in the image below uses a beautiful quartz countertop. It has space to roll a wheelchair underneath if needed. The stylish mirror is large to accommodate users who are standing or sitting. Plus the room features bright lighting which is another consideration for seniors whose eyesight may not be as good as it was.
The bathroom uses a medium-size format tile. Smaller tile with more grout is generally less slippery than large format tile. The toilet area has a higher toilet, as well as fold-down grab bars which can be used if needed. Additionally, the space next to the toilet has been left open, in case a helper is needed for transfers.
The shower area has a roll-in shower with wide doors for easy access. It also includes a fold-down bench, and a handheld shower, which allows a user to shower while seated. The shower is large enough that a helper could be in the shower if needed. Notice the multiple grab bars which allow a user more stability and help to avoid slips. It’s also a good idea to choose non-slip tile or add a non-slip surface for extra safety.
Learn More – Walls
Want more detailed tips and steps on how to design an accessible bathroom? Just click to open a step-by-step “How To” post.
The living room uses wide and open spaces for accessibility by a walker or wheelchair. Additionally, most storage is low so that items can be in easy reach.
This apartment provides large windows for natural light. Notice the comfortable sitting area next to the window, complete with a floor lamp, for extra visibility while reading at night.
Bedroom and Storage
As elsewhere in the apartment, the bedroom has plenty of open space and wide walkways for easier navigation.
An important consideration for any bedroom area is clothing storage. This unit’s closet has built-in lighting, to make it easier to locate items. There are plenty of shelves to store folding items and most are between shoulder height and knee height – seniors can struggle to place items too high or to bend too low. Hanging rods are hung at a middle height to make access to clothing easier.
For even more specific guidelines on the design of assisted living facilities, see the Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities, from the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI), which provides direction on programming in nursing homes, and assisted living.
How to Design a Senior or Assisted Living Apartment
The floor plans and 3D Photos in this post were created with the RoomSketcher App. To see more images and views, open this complete Project Presentation. From there, you can also try out a 360 View of one of the rooms, and download the RoomSketcher App to edit the project.