Everlan Hixson Chattanooga, TN designed by DKLEVY patio fireplace outdoor seating view courtyard

What Makes Senior Living Architecture Different

What is Senior Living Architecture?

Senior living architecture is a form of architecture that is focused on designing unique, safe and enjoyable living environments for aging adults. Architecture for the seniors housing industry can include many different types of projects, such as active adult, independent living or retirement communities, assisted living, and memory care.

So, what are the major differences between senior living communities?

Active Adult

Aging adults looking for a community lifestyle of like-minded residents where the living arrangements are designed for healthy, independent, aging adults who desire resort-like services and amenities.

Independent Living

Apartments, townhomes, condos, villas, or individual homes are built for aging adults who are active and capable of caring for themselves, looking to downsize to a community lifestyle where amenities are nearby.

Assisted Living

Communities that provide seniors with more personalized care plans in a residential apartment-style setting.

Memory Care

Communities that are designed for high acuity residents needing round-the-clock care.


Everlan Hixson Chattanooga, TN designed by DKLEVY

What Makes Senior Living Architecture Different?

The senior living industry is certainly unique. Architects that design in this industry must have the knowledge base and awareness of the nuances of senior housing to successfully produce project designs.

The need for senior housing is on the rise. By 2035, over 20% of the U.S. population will be age 65 and older. This increases the demand for senior living architecture and functional designs that meet the needs of the aging population. When it comes to a niche industry like senior living, experience is key. Senior living architectural firms like DKLEVY draw from over 150 projects in the sector. This experience allows for a tried-and-true approach to every new project. 

“We look through the lens of where we would want our families to live.” – Daniel Levy, President

In senior living architecture, it’s about much more than just designing the building for curb appeal. A beautifully designed building may look appealing to the naked eye, but it might not be suitable for aging adults, particularly those with dementia or other cognitive impairments. It is crucial that the architect chosen for your next senior living project understands the intricacies of the industry – from operations to resident and team experience.


Everlan Hixson Chattanooga, TN designed by DKLEVY indoor dining space

How Can Architecture Play an Important Role in a Resident’s Well-Being?

Architecture evolves as needs vary. This is especially true of senior living architecture, since resident needs and desires are constantly changing. Resident well-being should be prioritized when designing an environment for this population. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation can lead to serious health conditions, including worsened heart conditions.

A senior living architect plays a big role in combating loneliness and social isolation among aging adults by the design of hallways, layouts that lead residents from experience to experience, and the importance placed on where staff break rooms and social gatherings will take place. Architects must be focused on creating opportunities for social engagement and promoting active lifestyles for residents through their design. 

Here are some examples of communities that focus on senior well-being.

What Do Residents Want?

From master planning to design, we consider the residents who will occupy the senior living community with each architectural element. With a vast knowledge of the industry, the DKLEVY team of architects have a keen sense of awareness of acuity-appropriate design like hallway widths, location and position of dining areas and bistros, as well as the layout of resident apartments that welcome furnishings and storage space that make residents feel at home.

The pandemic put major restrictions on the free flow of movement, which brought forth many challenges for residents and their ability to spend time outdoors. That’s why more outdoor time is a key component in our designs. From outdoor patio space overlooking beautiful landscapes to fire pits that keep residents entertained, we create places for residents so that they can thrive in the outdoors.

Everlan Hixson Chattanooga, TN designed by DKLEVY outdoor seating area

DKLEVY’s experienced team of designers always factors the social wellness of residents into each project we work on. While some spaces might look great on a website, the residents don’t actually enjoy them. The expertise of our team allows us to see through the structure to the heart of the resident. We take real input from actual communities and their residents into account during the space planning phase to determine what residents will appreciate.

When working with DKLEVY, a client can expect to get a great finished product while working with a very experienced and responsive design team. We look to solve design problems with practicality and creativity while also being attentive to the wants of the client and always responding in a timely manner.” – Rodney Calvin

Ready to Start Your Next Senior Living Project?

DKLEVY architects and designers don’t follow the pack. We are an energetic and innovative firm with a passion for senior living architecture. We view every new project through the lens of where we would want to live and where we would want our own parents to live, as well.

Whether a developer or operation is looking for an architect partner to design active adult, independent living, assisted living, or memory care communities, our team’s expertise is invaluable.

If you are interested in partnering with DKLEVY for your next project, contact us today.

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