When The Meadows, Edgewood Retirement Community's long-term care center, originally opened in 1997, it was initially envisioned as part of a continuum of care for the retirement community. At that time, there were fewer Edgewood residents coping with aging-in-place or special medical needs, such as dementia. Since that time, the more-than-decade old Edgewood continuing care retirement community has completed an expansion and renovation that addresses current aging-in-place issues and meets the expanding needs of tomorrow's growing senior community.
The Edgewood experience promotes a people-friendly environment while respecting the privacy of individuals. The goal of the expansion/renovation project was to keep that theme at the forefront, while “filling in the blanks” with components of current continuing care that were missing or needed improvement, such as memory support environments, a social day center, and in-house clinics.
The expansion/renovation project began as a collaborative effort. Margulies Perruzzi Architects designed the Edgewood project in association with Levi + Wong Design Associates, which served as Senior Care and Healthcare artchitects, landscape architects, and interior designers, The early development process involved input from residents, their families, staff, and facility administrators. “It was critical that the development process include opportunities for community members to express their needs, hopes, and dreams, as well as fears and concerns,” said John P. Pearson, AIA, LEED AP, and senior associate at Margulies Perruzzi Architects. “Through these discussions, the utmost attention was paid to the sensitivities, special interests, and needs of the resident population-over 260 seniors-who call this community home.”
Located on a rural 80-acre site in North Andover, Massachusetts, Edgewood Retirement Community was expanded and renovated to include 40,000 square feet of space for a new 40-bed memory support unit; 20 beds in a renovated long-term care unit and space for clinics, and staff support; new space for Edgewood's Adult Social Day Program; a wellness and rehabilitation clinic; expansion of the lobby/living room; and a new informal dining bistro. The project began construction in fall 2008 and was completed in spring 2010.
Edgewood's existing long-term care services were greatly expanded with the addition of the Garden View memory support unit, along with renovations to the existing skilled nursing unit. The heart of the Garden View is an open circular plan, intended to minimize corridors and dead ends. The unit is designed around a central court, open to the sky, and includes an additional “memory garden.” Resident rooms are open to the courtyard or common areas, instead of traditional corridors, encouraging free movement and promoting independence and interaction. The interior walking path defining the courtyard weaves through activity areas, quiet nooks, and nurses' stations, providing for distinctive destinations.
The 40-bed Garden View unit allows flexibility in forming groups, improves residents' choices, encourages staff interaction with residents, and residents' socialization.
Visible destinations and landmarks improve wayfinding, enable staff to observe residents without being intrusive, and reduce aimless wandering. Each resident's address is presented in a dignified manner with a unique, rich warm color that provides another wayfinding clue to each individual's “home.”
The social day center serves about 35 Edgewood residents. By offering daily structured activities, it allows some of the needier residents to continue living in their IL apartment and avoid institutionalization. The center feels like a large apartment with an open kitchen, living room, and dining room.
The 20-bed long-term care unit renovation includes upgrades to the dining room, activities room, and lobby seating, in addition to support areas such as bathing and administration. The serving kitchen was enlarged and outfitted to improve food delivery, and existing patient rooms and corridors received finish and lighting upgrades.
In addition to the expansion of patient care facilities, the project included a new 80-seat bistro and lounge.
Based on interviews with staff, residents, and families, feedback on the design was overwhelming positive, according to Ruth Neeman, AIA, Principal and Senior Care Studio Director, Levi + Wong. “Everyone enjoys the natural light from the central courtyard, the walking paths that go by activities and destinations, the contrasting colors, and the artwork, which was selected with the appropriate generation in mind. The pieces all have a story to tell, and are points of conversation and sparking of memory,” she said.
Long-Term Living 2011 April;60(4):44-47