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Soo Im Im: “Developers are capitalizing on proximity to shopping, recreation, transit, etc. However, each market is unique, so it is critical to understand the local demographics and the market needs.”

IRVINE, CA—Some of the newest assisted-living communities look like resort hotels, while others look rather contemporary; however, none of them look like the places previous generations of seniors have inhabited, Soo Im, a director in the Los Angeles offices of KTGY Architecture + Planning, tells GlobeSt.com. We recently spoke exclusively with Im about some of the latest trends in senior-housing and healthcare real estate design.

While assisted-living communities can vary in design, none of them look like the places where we might have visited our grandparents, says Im. “Institutional-looking is out. Resort-style or contemporary is in: arrival areas and lobbies that feel inviting and welcoming and often resemble a boutique hotel. The new facilities highlight good outdoor connections and have optimized daylighting opportunities in the interior spaces. Long gone are the long hospital-like corridors. The new designs increase natural flow and movement. The addition of indoor/outdoor rooms, an outdoor kitchen and dining opportunities, outdoor activity areas catered to local climate to enhance indoor-outdoor living and entertaining opportunities for the seniors encourage activity and socialization are also trends in this sector, says Im. “Other trends include designing open and adaptable space in order to keep amenity spaces flexible for a variety of uses and not just one. Scale is an important factor. Spaces need to feel comfortable and appropriately intimate.” Luxury amenities and choices are also popular. “Choices can stem from something simple, like when the resident goes to bed and gets up and when he or she has breakfast,” says Im. “Many communities are adopting partially open kitchens where breakfast is available on demand throughout the morning, and the meals are cooked and plated for the residents per request. Providing these options, rather than what is dictated by a staff-oriented schedule, is key to supporting each resident’s autonomy and dignity.”

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Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the San Diego and Orange County markets on GlobeSt.com and a contributor to Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.

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