Psychology and The Design of Assisted Living Communities

Incorporating information gleaned from accurate psychological research into the Interior Design environment of an Assisted Living Community will enhance the mental health, emotional well-being and social stability of both residents and staff. Doing so will also contribute to operational success which results in better financial returns for owners and investors.Because humans are such complex beings we react or relate to our environment using intellect and emotions. These facilities help us to receive new information through our senses and blend it with intellectual and sensory information already assimilated into short and long term memory.Decades ago, psychological findings relating to most industries began to be utilized by advertising and marketing professionals to motivate potential buyers and enhance the sale of products. Many of those principles from accurate psychological research still apply and can be used to insure a favorable response from prospective residents and families as they enter the doors of our Assisted Living Communities.”The medium is the message” was a phrase made famous by Marshall McLuhan. It communicates the reality that the medium perceived through our senses will reinforce or contradict other information presented to us and will become our perception of reality. A simple illustration is a builder’s business sign with peeling paint and weeds growing all around it that says “First Class Builders”. Do we believe the message or does the medium of the sign communicate the real message? When resident families enter our Communities they will be given a marketing tour and a lot of collateral information about its lifestyle and amenities. Although they will be polite and gather all the intellectual data about why this community should be the best choice for them or their loved one, they will unconsciously be verifying what they hear by what they perceive themselves and how what they perceive makes them “feel”. We now live in an age where most people consider their feelings to be guidance systems instead of relying on intellectual assessments or marketing materials and presentations.Research also tells us that we have only minutes from the time a prospect enters the doors of our Assisted Living Community, for that interior environment to make a favorable impression. Every detail is important and must contribute to their feeling of well-being if they are going to believe the message and visualize themselves or their loved ones living there.Architectural design has a role to play, and that includes planning for abundant natural light,welcoming garden spaces, interesting and calming color choices, sensory textures and a residential ambiance that helps to reduce stress and enhance lifestyle satisfaction.Professionals already acknowledge the role art can play in healing environments like rehabilitation centers,Assisted Living and Memory Care. Caregivers agree that health and healing are enhanced by visual beauty. Lovely environments become healing environments that promote recovery, reduce stress and lead to greater levels of satisfaction among residents and caregivers alike.A famous quote by John Keats is still true today “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”.An interior designer, who understands the relationship between psychology and design is the primary source of creating the precise environment needed. It’s about design that goes beyond beauty to incorporate known psychological benefits into every interior choice such as color, texture, scale, symmetry, contrast and layering to stimulate positive receptors within the senses of all who experience the environment.Quote One: “My Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology has positioned our firm with assets that enable us to inculcate the unseen elements that trigger the positive feelings that contribute to mental health,emotional well-being and social stability in every Senior Living Environment Idesign.”Quote Two:”It is my belief that through the medium of Interior Design people can be given a sense of well-being that defies a technical analysis of color, pattern and style but is able to communicate positive feelings and emotions to potential residents.