If you like this post, please share:

If you liked this post, please share:

You may have read my post a few weeks ago on what's next for senior living and residential care design in the wake of Covid-19.

Now you can watch the movie. Well, actually a recorded 22-minute webinar (see below).

I share 8 design strategies of how senior living and residential care providers, architects, interior designers, and product manufacturers can respond to the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Because going forward, people are going to be wary of living in congregated environments.

Congregate Living Model Won't Go Away

Experts like Bob Kramer, founder of the National Investment Center for Seniors and the recently launched consulting firm, Nexus Insights, do not think the congregate living model will die with Covid-19. But it will have to be marketed very differently.

I agree, and design is a big part of that marketing story.

Kramer believes senior living will have to look like and marketed as a metaphor for being alive -- with experiences, engagement, and a sense of purpose and belonging. Providers also need to develop communities that appeal to Boomers now, not when they need care 10-15 years from now.

And marketing isn’t just for residents. Those who own and operate senior living communities and residential care facilities need to attract and retain staff.

The marketing pitch is also going to have to include what the community has done to prepare for the next outbreak. Critical to this are operational protocols, design for infection control, and technology integration.

8 Design Strategies

Here are the 8 design strategies I talk about in the webinar:

  1. Think small for infection control
  2. Build in flexibility for isolation
  3. Re-think resident apartment design
  4. Provide better outdoor spaces and access to nature
  5. Design for telemedicine
  6. Provide better air filtration and purification
  7. Revisit surface materials and cleaning protocols
  8. Design spaces that support staff

Watch the webinar:


  1. Addressing the Staffing Crisis by Design. Environments for Aging, August 1, 2019.
  2. Innovator Bill Thomas: Covid-19 Will Lead to Senior Living 'Reset' Lasting 3-5 Years. Senior Housing News, March 25, 2020.
  3. How Covid-19 is Shaping the Future of Senior Living Architecture and Design. Senior Housing News, April 7, 2020.
  4. Coronavirus Exposes the Dangers of Age Segregation. Bloomberg Business News, April 21, 2020.
  5. Reinvention: Breathing New Life into An Existing Senior Living Community. RLPS Architects Blog, April 28, 2020.
  6. As Death Toll in Nursing Homes Climbs, Calls to Redesign Them Grow. New York Times, May 12, 2020.
  7. Georgia Retirement Community’s Employees Continue to Shelter in Place With Residents. McKnight’s Senior Living, May 18, 2020.

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Photo: Touchmark in the West Hills in Portland, Ore.; courtesy of Touchmark.

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Leave a comment

Rob Pfauth

4 years ago

Hi Sara,
Just caught your mini-webinar on the impact Covid-19 might have on senior living planning and design. There has been a lot said and written on this topic recently, but I think your presentation sums up much of the essential truths that we can take away from this bizarre era. Thank you, and stay well!

Sara Marberry

4 years ago

Thanks, Rob, for your nice comments. Seems like things are changing every day!

Sara Marberry_013-Retouched-New copy

What's my story? I'm a healthcare and senior living design knowledge expert who writes and speaks frequently about trends and issues affecting these two industries. I'm also a strategic marketing consultant and content creator, working with companies and organizations who want to improve the quality of healthcare and senior living through the design of the physical environment. You can reach me at .

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