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Texas star

January 1, 2007
by ROBERT VOLZER, CID, IIDA
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With a warm Texas welcome, Signature Senior Living is serving folks in 10 rural communities across the state with the development of moderate neighborhood-scale assisted living and memory care facilities.

As they did with the structures, the owners have developed their programs from the ground up. The Signature Memory Care program is intentionally designed to be small (only accommodating up to 14 residents at each location). The areas supporting this program include continuous walking paths and wayfinding cues to assist residents with Alzheimer's and other dementia-related diseases, and offer a combination of private and companion living. “Residents who develop a relationship with one another and share an apartment are more calm and trusting of their environment,” relates Executive Director Gina Nance.

The Life Enrichment Program offers a wealth of activities that encourage intergenerational programs and opportunities for community involvement. All residents and their grandchildren, for example, can take computer classes and training together in using e-mail and the Internet. The residents help design their monthly activity programs to ensure that the community meets their needs and desires. All residents have Internet access in their apartments, as well as community provided VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone services, which is a new technology entering the long-term care market. To complement the architecture, state-of-the-art wireless monitoring technologies, such as emergency call systems, are also employed so staff can focus its attention directly on residents





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“The architectural and interior design makes use of ‘local materials’, including stone, brick, and siding, to present a soft ranch-style exterior appearance and offer an interior atmosphere akin to a bed-and-breakfast inn,” explains Architect Marc Tolson of GTF Design. With a sprawling 10,000 square feet of common areas, and with the extension of porches opening directly from many of the living units, residents and families find a wonderful variety of spaces and amenities to enjoy, including a large living room with a hearth, media area, Internet cafã©, game room, ice cream parlor, dining rooms, beauty salon, and a large screened porch overlooking landscaped courtyards. “Soothing colors, comfortable fur-nishings, and sunlit apartments enhance the living experience and extend a bit of hospitality to the families,” adds Interior Designer Cheryl Stanzione of Stanzione Associates.







The projects accommodate a traditionally underserved rural population, while providing living options that naturally extend the communities, both demographically and in an environmental context, within the areas they serve. “Signature communities have a strong commitment to “do the right thing…regardless” for residents, explains Linda Martin, president and COO, and she sums it up warmly by saying that Signature's motto is to “spoil the residents” every day.

VOLZER DESIGN DEVELOPMENT
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