• Getting Your Medical Practice Ready for Seniors

    The increased effectiveness of modern health care and the large population of the baby-boomer generation have combined to create new challenges for today’s physicians. Doctors who deal with this rapidly growing patient base are finding that their medical practices need to be adjusted and adapted to provide the best possible service and medical care.

    However, identifying exactly what needs to be changed and improved can be challenging. Here are a few suggestions for getting a medical practice ready for the new generation of senior citizens.

    Caring and Considerate Staff

    The kindness and caring attitude of office workers, nurses, and other medical personnel is extremely important when dealing with people who are aging. It can be difficult to remain patient and considerate while handling the limitations and issues of older people who are ill or may be suffering from dementia. Not only are the patients experiencing the effects of illness, but they are also feeling the effects of aging, which can be very upsetting and disorienting.

    Dealing with these personality issues on a daily basis can be demanding. Make sure your office and support staff have the right type of personality traits and demeanor for your aging patients.

    Enhance Your Environment

    Take a good look at the physical aspects of your office and make sure it can be adapted or remodeled to handle the senior clientele. All approaches will need to be wheelchair-accessible which requires ramps with a low degree of slant as well as textured surfaces to allow for better traction. Elevator panels may need to be lowered for those in wheelchairs, and they may need to be modified with larger print and buttons for patients who have eye problems.

    Doors may need to be adapted, making them easier to open. People with arthritis or patients who have recently undergone hand, arm or wrist surgery may not be able to use a traditional door handle. Installing an ADA compliant door handle, like the SOSS Ultralatch, will allow patients with limited grasping ability or special needs to open any door.

    Changes in Office Routine

    Office routines may also be affected by your aging patients. Depending on your specialty or the fact that the majority of your patients are elderly, existing systems and processes may need to be updated or completely changed.

    Scheduling office visits is one such aspect. Due to difficulties in comprehension and delays in communication, some older patients require longer office visits than younger patients. Because a patient may require more consultation time than the next, scheduling a longer appointment for each patient regardless of their medical condition may be necessary to ensure that waiting room times do not become excessive.

    Adapting your practice for senior citizens is not a monumental task but it is one that demands careful attention to several aspects of aging. Small changes made with great consideration can make a big difference in how your aging patients experience your care.

  • 5 Ways Architects can Deliver Independence to Seniors


    According to the AARP survey, more than 90% of seniors wish to remain in their own homes rather than live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Their homes can be retirement homes or communities where independent living is still allowed.

    People feel empowered and autonomous when they can control their surroundings. At nursing homes, they have to operate on a set schedule and that doesn’t bode well for seniors who’ve been independent for decades.

    At their own homes, seniors can keep their favorite pictures and belongings, have companion animals, and their loved ones can visit without having to follow a strict schedule.

    Nursing homes are often the last resort for seniors who are cognitively impaired. If they suffer from just a slight immobility, they can still stay in their independent retirement homes with a couple adjustments.

    For seniors, in home care services can be helpful. Qualified caregivers drop by as often as needed to help with light housekeeping, personal hygiene, medication re-minders, going to doctor’s appointments, and more.

    Retirement homes themselves are now being designed to accommodate seniors and promote autonomy. While senior homes are built with certain standards already sometimes small details are overlooked.

    Paying attention to interior architecture can keep seniors mobile and safe. Here are some of the ways:

    1. Latch-Style Door

    Arthritis is common among seniors. It makes everyday living painful and difficult. Doorknobs require turning and strength, causing increased pain associated with arthritis. Doors are better replaced with specific types of senior living door latches.

    UltraLatch by SOSS are arthritis friendly door latches. Instead of turning and pulling, the UltraLatch only requires light tapping and pushing and is an intuitive way to open doors. Door latches is one element that most people take for granted, but having an ADA compliant door latch such as the UltraLatch can make a night and day difference for seniors suffering from arthritis or other injuries.

    2. No-Step Entries

    Seniors are often in wheelchairs or use walkers. Steps are difficult to climb and can raise the risk of falling. To circumvent this, entries to the house must be barrier-free or have a ramp installed.

    3. Garage Lift

    Garage often has two or three steps to the inside of the home. Garage lift allows someone in a wheelchair to gain access from the garage or parking structure to inside.

    4. Light Switches

    Rocker-type light switches are easier on the hands than the more common flip switches.

    5. Large Windows

    It’s been proven that natural lighting is helpful for mood disorders and depression. Seniors are more prone to sadness and depression than any other age group. Large windows (10 to 20% larger) that let in a lot of natural light can help with this.

    These are just a few of the design elements that architects can incorporate when building senior homes or retirement communities. The most important thing is try-ing to empathize with seniors and design intelligent architectural solutions about how their lives can be improved by paying attention to small details.

  • Details That Are Not Noticed in Luxury Hotels

    12958291_sThere is no exact definition for luxury hotels other than that people expect them to be expensive. Hotel star ratings from AAA or industry publications are at best arbitrary. Many four and five star hotels bill themselves as luxury hotels even though there are no set standards.

    But one thing is certain. High-end luxury hotels have certain details that the other class of hotels can’t emulate, either because they cost too much or they don’t fit the type of clientele they’re going after. Here are some incredible details that are never noticed in luxury hotels.

    1. Doors

    Most people don’t pay attention to their room doors or cabinet doors when they’re at a hotel. Yet doors represent some of the finest details of what sets luxury hotels from others. Everything from the material to finish to hinges complement the hotel’s style and decor.

    Luxury hotels that have deep history aim for more traditional look. Contemporary luxury hotels tend to go for more minimalist design. Hidden door hinges or invisible hinges can achieve a clean look that doesn’t detract from the design.

    2. Services

    Hotel business is known as hospitality business for a reason. Guests expect friendliness and courtesy. But what tips the scale from just okay to exceptional is how some of the services are performed.

    Luxury hotels understand that people instinctively respond to their name favorably. One’s own name has been known as the most pleasant word that can be uttered. That’s why luxury hotel personnel address everyone by his/her name. They do this in such a discreet and subtle way that you might not even notice it, but the pleasant feeling lingers.

    3. Cleanliness

    You would think a clean hotel room is a given, but you’d be surprised. You’ll often come across shocking truths on how housekeeping is really done in even the most posh hotels. If you can blissfully spare yourself from the gross details, good for you.

    Luxury hotels that get consistently high reviews on aggregate websites (e.g. TripAdvisor) and enjoy a ton of repeat visitors have the cleanliness factor locked down, even if you stay only one night.

    4. Technology

    Key-less entries, automatic check-ins and outs, a mobile app that tells you when your room is ready – these are the technological triumphs that make luxury hotels better than others.

    They can afford to build a proprietary app that handles the mundane details, so they can focus on the part that really matters – having a competent concierge that can meet any demands.

    Although many functions of hotel business are becoming more and more automated, people will always crave personal attention and human interaction from luxury hotels. Amenities that can foresee and meet guests’ needs and impeccable services are all details that make luxury hotels successful.

    Hospitality Design Guide

  • 3 Similarities that Most Senior Living Communities Share


    13293864_sIn 2013, persons 65 years or older comprised 14.1% of the U.S. population. It is projected that by 2040, this age group will grow to 21.7% of the population. It is no secret that the U.S. is aging, some states faster than others.

    There’s a higher demand for senior living communities than ever before. Not all such communities are built the same though. Some can represent ultimate luxury while others focus more on the basics.

    Despite the price gap, most senior living communities have similarities that are designed to make the lives of seniors easier. Here are the 3 common similarities these communities have:

    1. Slip-Resistant Floors

    It’s startling that one out of three older people fall every year. Falling once increases the chances of falling again by twofold.

    Falls can be costly. They can cause head injury or broken bones. The CDC estimates that more than 95% of hip fractures are due to falling, usually sideways.

    Falls also have mental and emotional side effects that aren’t discussed often. People who fall once are afraid of falling again. They’ll try to cut down on activities, which can cause them to be weaker and increase the chances of falling again. It’s a vicious cycle.

    Senior living communities are well aware of the statistics related to falling, so many install slip-resistant flooring. A resilient floor surface prevents falling even when wet. Although no flooring is 100% slip-proof, with skid-free floor mats and rugs, the chances of falling can be greatly reduced.

    2. Doors That Are Easy on Hands

    Millions of seniors suffer from arthritis. What used to come easily, like opening bottles or turning doorknobs, becomes arduous and painful. Senior living door latches require a special consideration.

    There are some ADA Compliant arthritis friendly door latches in the market. UltraLatch by SOSS is one of them. With lever-style doorknobs like UltraLatch, no senior with arthritis has to think twice about whether it’s worth the pain to open the door.

    3. Walk-In Showers

    According to the National Institute of Aging, 80% of seniors who fall do so in their bathroom. Due to the slippery nature of the bathroom, this is not very surprising.

    Walk-in showers with low entry can help mitigate this problem. Many senior communities have walk-in showers, also known as step-in showers, instead of traditional tubs.

    They also have grab bars, flexible shower wand, and other features friendly for seniors. Because falls can happen as a result of poor eyesight, bright but indirect lighting in the bathroom can also help.

    While senior living communities differ from one another, most of them are designed to maximize the comfort and safety of their residents. The similarities above are common and rightfully expected in any decent senior home.

  • The Higher Demand of Boutique Hotel Architecture


    During the 1980s, a different breed of hotels emerged in New York, London, and San Francisco. Known as boutique hotels, they aimed to set themselves apart from overly ubiquitous big hotel chains. Rather than simply providing lodging and slapping on some amenities, boutique hotels were unique in their style and furnishings. They traditionally targeted people in 20s to 50s, who had more disposable income.

    Now that boutique hotels have become more commonplace with big chains in the game (e.g. Intercontinental Hotel Group with Hotel Indigo), the standards have gone up even more. People expect the personal attention of a small hotel combined with the amenities of a luxury brand.

    Even the very definition of boutique hotels is getting blurred. The “purists” would say that a hotel couldn’t be considered boutique if it exceeds 100 to 150 rooms. That’s due to the belief that it’s harder for a bigger hotel to provide personal experience.

    On the contrary, some would say a hotel size doesn’t play as big of a factor; it’s all about the approach and attitude. As long as hotels answer this one crucial question, they can be considered boutique. Do they entertain and delight? Whether through music, architecture, lighting, unique or specialized themes or art, as long as hotels provide one-of-a-kind atmosphere, they meet the criteria for boutique.

    Even if people disagree on the true definition, one thing is certain about boutique hotels. People want the personal experience. Every room is slightly different and not a cookie-cutter design. Only the essential amenities are provided because too many choices can actually paralyze people when making decisions. But these amenities don’t feel like the “bare minimum.”

    Detail to attention is meticulous. Take door hinges for example. Not too many people think about door hinges, but at many boutique hotels that boast contemporary interior, you’ll notice the hinges are missing.

    These “invisible hinges” are hidden when the doors and cabinets are closed, adding to the smooth and clean lines. Unless the hotels are going for the vintage or classical look, traditional hinges are bulky, take up a lot of room, and detract from the decor. Concealed door hinges solve that problem.

    Boutique hotels also meet higher standards by essentially being mind readers. They go beyond the expensive sheets and memory foam beds. Prior to check in, they’ll ask their guests what their sleeping preferences are and provide accordingly. This ensures every guest has a customized experience.

    In a nutshell, boutique hotels focus on providing quality experience at a personal level, regardless of the size. They pay attention to smallest details, like using hidden hinges on their doors and cabinets. They generally take care to make sure their interior is different and reflects the characteristics of the hotels.

    Hospitality Design Guide

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