Twenty-first-century American cities and towns were not designed to support the quest for wellness.
Health care specialists, gyms, organic grocers, and therapists are rarely brought together under the same roof. This adds to the challenge of attaining, and then maintaining, wellness for people of limited mobility or advanced age. But this problem also opens the door for opportunities while driving impactful change in the elderly healthcare market.
Bergmeyer recently took on this community wellness challenge when designing health centers with our client, Edenbridge Health (Cherry Blossom PACE). Edenbridge’s mission is to allow frail elderly people to “age in the location of their choosing and continue to lead connected meaningful lives.” They accomplish this by bringing some healthcare services into people’s homes and implementing neighborhood wellness centers that become a hub of healthcare services while creating a sense of community for their users.
The health centers we designed for Edenbridge look nothing like the neighborhood health centers for the general population. Why? Because an alternative way of design thinking and execution is needed to balance practical needs with the humility of aging.
We drew heavily from our experience in hospitality and multi-family residential design to create environments that were welcoming, approachable and community-focused. The layout, material palette, furniture, and lighting– even in the offices and examination rooms – were chosen to purposefully recall home and the sense of what home means to each participant.
Many design principles emerged from our work with Edenbridge. These include:
Ultimately – a space that truly sponsors community and wellness must thoughtfully and intentionally respond to the needs of its users. Simple detail-oriented considerations like a variety of different seating and gathering spaces, easy access to home-like amenities such as small kitchenettes, bookshelves, and gaming tables, and even the presence of a place to hang your coat and put your feet up make for a better user experience.