Senior Living Design Symposium
From left: Cyndi Klein, SFA Architects; Arlys Kath, Senior Lifestyle Design; Jill Schroeder, Pope Architects; Alissa Brandt, Ankrom Moisan Architects; Tara Hill, Little Fish Think Tank; Renee Ryckman, Partners in Design; Keith Gray, J+J Flooring Group; Bonnie Cauthorn, Design Source; Betsy Slusser (Innerspace Design.  Back row:  David Daughtrey, J+J Flooring Group; Sarah House, Saxton Design; Jane Rohde, JSR Associates; Ross Leonard, J+J Flooring Group; Laura Holzer, J+J Flooring Group; Dan Metzger, J+J Flooring Group; Blaine Eakins, J+J Flooring Group.

J+J Flooring Group recently hosted the first in a series of Senior Living Design Symposiums in which designers identified and discussed the driving trends in senior living design. The top five trends observed included hospitable luxury; user driven design; Greenhouse project passion; nature inspired healing; and greater diversity in flooring selection–increase in modular carpet use

Held in Jackson Hole, Wyo., the two-day event brought together leading practitioners of senior living design representing firms across the U.S. including California, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia.

For designers, the open exchange of ideas offered lessons about other firms’ approaches to common challenges along with an update on the state of the industry. There was also a focus on the growing study of evidence-based design and J+J Flooring’s research that supports these human-focused principles. 

Trending discussions among the group focused on the deinstitutionalization of senior living facilities and the push for an increase of hospitality influences. Many attendees are seeing the surge of Baby Boomers who are demanding different standards in their accommodations. Residents are now embracing technology and wanting more contemporary and stylish living environments. Design elements for successful assisted living must not only provide safety and care, but also unique facilities with familiar, homelike qualities. The Greenhouse concept is frequently becoming a driver to achieve a more residential, family-like environment, according to the company. 

Attendees also noted that elders are being given more input into the design of their spaces. Trends such as nature-inspired aesthetics, warmer finishes, abstract organics and color selections with hues of greens and purples are becoming more and more prominent in long-term care facility design. Each of these trends assist in the concept of bringing nature indoors—which is continually being proven to help elders with healing and comfort in the progressive stages of aging.

In addition to the overall finish selection, flooring preferences are also seeing a transformation. Many times mixed flooring types are used to accommodate the use of the individual space, however room carpet tends to remain neutral with small scale, textural patterns.  Because multi-flooring selections are incorporated there is a high importance given to transitions.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults age 65 and older.

Tara Hill, founder of Little Fish Think Tank in Atlanta commented, "It was inspiring to be part of a group of designers who are all well informed on how to design vibrant environments that promote health, welfare and quality of life. I left with a better understanding of the push toward creating mixed use communities with space functions that encompass a larger age span and that focus on robust living. Truly, today’s senior living has arrived as flourishing living for an aging audience." 

Participants benefited from a keynote presentation on new guidelines for residential care facilities by Jane Rohde, founder of Maryland-based JSR Associates, and a member of the Environmental Standards Council of The Center for Health Design.

“Attending the senior living symposium with J+J was a wonderful recharge for me as a presenter and participant,” said Rohde, AIA, FIIDA, CHA, AAHID.  “It was an incredible opportunity to talk with men and women that are focused on design for elders and share stories, point of view, projects, and life. The smaller venue and wonderful location provided time to get to know everyone individually, celebrating each person’s special contributions and ideas about the senior living industry.  When you leave a venue feeling like you’ve been wrapped in a warm hug and ready to tackle the world, the time spent is more than worthwhile.”

For J+J Flooring, the think tank offered insights into new opportunities to meet the needs of patients and caregivers and encouraged out-of-the-box thinking about flooring.

“The symposium was an invaluable opportunity to explore the influence of interior design and the resultant impact on patient and resident health and wellbeing and caregiver and staff satisfaction,” said David Daughtrey, J+J Flooring director of business development for healthcare and education. “As a manufacturer of quality flooring products, we embrace collaborative projects such as this that encourage forward thinking, inspire change and lead to innovations that ultimately improve quality of life.”   

For more information, visit