Best Memory Care Design of 2021: ‘Best of Both Worlds’ in a Small-House Design

Judith Zeng

Sage Oak Memory Care houses 16 beds just about every in 5 properties, with an administrative building entrance and middle. But this Lake Charles, Louisiana-centered group appears more like a cottage community than a standalone memory treatment community.

By splitting 80 beds into 5 independent properties, the community’s designers prioritized individualized resident treatment with lesser structures, although keeping the logistical and economic benefits of a so-known as “big-box” local community.

Developing a community with the strengths of both a compact and a significant senior living operator was the eyesight of Sage Oak Assisted Living and Memory Care CEO Loe Hornbuckle.

“The original style was [to] produce a thing that was the greatest of equally worlds for residents that gave them all the pros of small, all the positive aspects of big,” Hornbuckle instructed Senior Housing Information.

The ideal-of-equally-worlds design and style, coupled with prioritized dining and social spaces, earned it top rated accolades from the judges of the 2021 Senior Housing News Architecture & Style Awards in the “Best Standalone Memory Care” classification.

The Thought

The progress of The Sage Oak of Lake Charles began in 2019 with a straightforward, but disruptive concept – combining the experience and ease and comfort of a 16-bed community with the operation and logistics of an 80-bed group.

Hornbuckle recalled he drew the first floorplan on a serviette and handed it to the project’s architectural firm, Greenleaf Lawson.

From the get-go, “they wanted this to be different,” said Justin Greenleaf, principal architect of Greenleaf Lawson Architects.

Senior housing layout firms will typically have to acquire a developer’s vision and suggest a compromise that presents the finest treatment for the inhabitants in the constraints of the task. But for this job, the thought was usually to marry an 80-bed procedure with the treatment of an intimate 16-mattress building.

“These owners truly caught to what they required,” Greenleaf reported.

, Larger communities have distinct positive aspects, in accordance to Hornbuckle..

“If you have 80 beds, then you have sufficient earnings for every posture that you need… an government director, an assistant ED, an assistant director of nursing,” stated Hornbuckle.

So, 1 main goal of the undertaking was to redirect additional of the working funds to achieving a caregiver ratio of about 5 caregivers to each individual resident even though removing the “institutional” sense of a major box. The project’s designers helped reach that by building a lot more touchpoints and more opportunities for human conversation.

To maintain human interaction at the forefront of the Sage Oak of Lake Charles expertise, every single of the 5 buildings has a huge typical space that includes a space for online games, an open up kitchen area, and a eating spot, all of which can be conveniently observed from a nurse’s station in the crossroads of the typical region and the lobby. Between the amenities in the common area are an office environment, hair salon, library and a computer system heart.

Perhaps the most notable characteristic of every single developing at The Sage Oak of Lake Charles is the open up kitchen area and dining place, which lets for inhabitants to look at and take part in food planning, an activity central to memory care programming.

“It turns into a hibachi-kind working experience for the residents,” stated Hornbuckle. “So, when you come on our campus, there are 5 food companies happening, not just one.”

An additional profit to this type of kitchen area is foodstuff high quality and freshness, as people are a lot nearer to exactly where their foods are created.

Usually, resident suites are built with a frequent home or sitting area that Hornbuckle observed to be wasted house. So, he required to transfer to a more novel strategy with this style and design.

“The rooms are intended to be economical and small on goal to funnel citizens to the typical spot as a lot as probable,” he reported.

He additional that this technique generates operational strengths due to the reality that it’s less complicated to make certain resident basic safety if people are socializing and congregating in the frequent places wherever help is shut by.

“We liken our condition to a resort area in Vegas,” he stated. “You really don’t invest a good deal of time in the place – you’re out and about.”

The bed room spots at The Sage Oak are divided into 4 quadrants, named wings, to protect the personal come to feel, with hallways particularly created to be as small as feasible so as to illuminate the institutional feel of the space.

Each individual residential suite differs a little in sizing making it possible for for products and price differentiation and involves its very own non-public rest room with a zero-entry shower.

The structures use fiber optic wireless technology so that residents can almost check out with mates and household when they can not go to in-man or woman. The campus also has a standalone place of work and leasing place, allowing for for risk-free separation from outside the house targeted visitors – a security mechanism in the Covid-19 pandemic.

As is usual with most senior living building assignments, the job also experienced to acquire approval from the regional group. In the conclusion, it won unanimous guidance from the community organizing commission and praise from Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter.

The Building

Get the job done on the challenge commenced in 2019. Building a memory treatment neighborhood meant to seem like four massive houses was by now not an quick endeavor, but the challenge was also hit by some exterior challenges that were unprecedented in scope.

Lake Charles, Louisiana manufactured countrywide news in 2020 as the to start with American metropolis to have two named tropical storms or hurricanes –Laura and Delta — make landfall in the exact hurricane period. Months later in 2021, winter season storm Uri wreaked havoc on the southern U.S., adopted by severe flooding in Might.

In all, the Lake Charles community experienced 4 federally declared natural disasters in a 12-month period of time, all of which took location throughout the project’s construction timeline.

The Sage Oak’s distinctive style and design also presented troubles for subcontractors. In purchase to generate a local community with enough basic safety and care even though sustaining the intimate property, the style and design demanded pairing commercial construction with residential design, and that can be tricky when looking for subcontractors, in accordance to Hornbuckle.

“This challenge is really unique since it is a single of the several situations you’ll have subcontractors from distinctive disciplines [of construction]coming collectively,” he stated.

All in all, the project was more than a year and a 50 % guiding schedule, and came out in excess of budget, according to Hornbuckle.

“Between Covid and the aforementioned temperature activities, we had lots of adversity,” he claimed. “We were a lot more than a 12 months and a fifty percent driving timetable and we undoubtedly ended up above spending plan.”

The Completion

That very same group survived Laura, Delta, Uri, a large flood, and Covid-19 along with the developers, designers, and contractors who built The Sage Oak of Lake Charles. That community continues to help it.

Now open, the community has 5 8,500 sq.-foot residences with 16 residential suites. To day, the neighborhood has not documented a situation of Covid-19 amid people or staff members, and Hornbuckle credits design characteristics like the standalone sales office as helping to protect against the distribute of the coronavirus.

The Sage Oak of Lake Charles is at this time averaging about 3 deposits for each week and Hornbuckle believes the neighborhood will hit its occupancy goals by 9 months post-opening.

Gracyn Robinson, former Sr. Designer with LWDA Style who is a applicant at Brown College to get hold of her Learn of Science in Health care Management and one of the judges concerned in the SHN Architecture and Style and design Awards, gave Sage Oak of Lake Charles major accolades e.

Robinson observed that the group fulfills equally the objective of remaining a reason-created facility as effectively as a affected person-centered care product.

“There is no institutional really feel,” Robinson claimed of the task. “From participatory eating … to zero-entry transitions each at the entrance and by the inside, this group is effectively-educated and expertly reached.

Other design functions, like the open kitchen ideas, have also paid out off. Nowadays, inhabitants are conversing about recipes as they watch chefs put together their meals, speaking about subjects these types of as how neighborhood fare like roux and gumbo are built, Hornbuckle reported.

A further testomony to the community’s results is the truth that the huge the greater part of the present citizens of The Sage Oak of Lake Charles – Hornbuckle estimates 75% – came from other memory treatment communities in the location.

In the finish, lowering the wasted in-area area and repurposing it to popular areas has also compensated off. Decreasing squandered in-space space and repurposing it as frequent parts has also paid off in resident demand from customers. As testament to that, the enterprise will soon reduce its month to month internet marketing finances to just $500, down from $2,000

But perhaps the real evaluate of a productive improvement is whether the providers associated will repeat the task elsewhere. And in this case, the remedy is a resounding indeed.

“We’re definitely in a placement wherever I believe this new product is heading to dominate the marketplace,” Hornbuckle explained.

The Sage Oak will open up a related group in Denton, Texas this Might.

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