Schemmer Talks Senior Living Design Trends

Schemmer talks Senior Living Design Trends

Schemmer has been involved in senior living design trends and projects in more than 20 states with construction costs ranging from $1 million up to $99 million. These partnerships include every level of care including:

  • continuing care retirement communities
  • assisted living/dementia care
  • nursing care
  • Veteran homes
  • physical therapy and wellness, to name a few

Our extensive working knowledge of such trends ensures we will deliver a wealth of valuable information on senior living for your consideration of implementation.

Senior Living Planning and Design Specialists

In an industry that’s constantly changing, balancing regulations and the growing needs and demands of aging adults and their families, Schemmer is there. We plan and design functional, welcoming environments across multi-level campuses. Ultimately creating a home for any senior regardless of their current or future care needs.

Schemmer provide's effective solutions based on:

  • our clients’ core values
  • needs of the people they serve
  • our comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the assessment, planning and design of the project

We understand that every community has strategic services aimed to benefit resident’s daily lives. Our personal approach helps us to truly understand the logistics of how your building design needs to respond to maximize the support you offer to your seniors.

Senior Living Design Trends

Creating a Home-Like Atmosphere

Schemmer Senior Living Design Trends Architecture Firm

  • Common areas, a dining room, private or shared bedrooms with pictures and knick-knacks give a senior center a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • The use of less restrictive cooking technologies such as hoodless cooking, sous vide and induction ranges will expand farm-to-table offerings and menu offerings to higher levels of care.

Community Integration

  • In more traditional assisted living settings, many people complain about isolation. A new trend for senior housing is to make sure seniors stay connected to their communities. Providing opportunities for seniors to contribute and participate in community events, such as bake sales and charity events can make a senior feel needed and appreciated.
  • Senior living centers are also creating communities within their walls, as well, with planned activities, such as aerobics, art classes and music and dancing times.
  • Purposeful engagement in programming and operations encourages residents to participate in actual daily activities like meal prep, laundry and gardening. These zones of socialization are used to create spaces which promote integration for each resident’s choice of socialization.
  • Spaces with multiple uses and flexibility are still popular, but instead of having an area deemed as the “multipurpose room,” providers are looking at amenities they can combine to serve a variety of purposes. For example, instead of having both a library and a coffee shop, they are combining the two.
  • Integrate senior living communities into master-planned communities, where amenities like salons, dining areas and fitness centers are public-facing to encourage increased socialization with the community at large.

Outdoor Spaces

  • No one wants to be stuck inside all the time. Creating a safe outdoor space for residents is another trend in senior housing that isn’t going anywhere. Designated garden areas, places to sit, eat lunch, or read a book are all important features when looking at senior living communities. Offering these spaces to the residents regardless of their level of care is a must. The most successful outdoor spaces are when leisure takes focus.
  • Wellness-enhancing amenities, such as walking trails, spas and healthy eating, as well as elements of biophilic design through living walls, water features and natural textures. Also critical, plentiful daylight and outdoor views not only improve mood but also help regulate circadian rhythm.
  • Schemmer is proud to check the compliance boxes with access control and the regulators to maximize the experience and social opportunities of the seniors.

LED lighting

  • LED lighting is being incorporated beyond just saving energy and is being used more and more to promote healthy sleep patterns and reduce anxiety by aligning lamp color temperature with residents’ circadian rhythms.

Mind and Body EmphasisSchemmer Senior Living Design Trends Plan & Design Architecture

  • Your loved one isn’t just a number and it’s important that seniors find a place that understands the importance of keeping their guest’s minds and bodies healthy.
  • Memory care is another way senior housing is reaching beyond the realm of traditional assisted living. Memory care offers individualized help and attention when a senior suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s.


  • When a senior moves to an assisted living community, they shouldn’t have to leave their beloved pet behind. A senior living community that truly cares will allow them to bring their four-legged friend along so they can continue being their faithful companion.

Schemmer | Design with Purpose. Build with Confidence.

Shane Larsen, AIA, NCARB, is Schemmer's Senior Living group leader. Since his professional career began, Shane has solely focused on senior living projects across the country from Virginia to California, North Dakota to Texas. As one of the foremost architects in the senior living arena, his work includes facility assessments, master planning and design for religious orders, state veterans homes, non-profit communities and for-profit communities to build a better life for seniors.

Specialized Services:

  • Facility assessment
  • Facility programming and master planning
  • Campus master planning
  • Additions and renovations
  • New facility design
  • Site development
  • Deferred maintenance design
  • Capital expense forecasting for deferred maintenance

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