I’ve taken an interest lately in the architecture, design, and landscaping of assisted living facilities, and I love visiting new facilities to practice taking photos. Luckily, there are a plethora of great facilities in my city, so I have plenty of subjects to keep my camera busy. I also enjoy seeing the many facility photos that come through our site via our facility directory.
I’ve been thinking lately about the importance of the exterior, or ‘public face’ of assisted living facilities. Is it really that important for a facility to spend money on expensive flower beds, professional landscaping, and a grounds keeping staff to keep the property clean, well-kept, and trash free? After all, the majority of residents will spend the bulk of their time inside the facility. Of course, residents may be taken on short walks, or may enjoy an outdoor patio or gazebo on the facility grounds, if they have one, but the reality is that most residents in an assisted living environment – especially those with a serious condition such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, will most often be inside the facility, under close watch and supervision.
I’ve lately seen, and received photos from facility listings, many facilities that obviously spend a lot of time and resources on flowers, perfectly kept lawns, and decor for their buildings. I am drawn to these places for this reason, and I would imagine that families and residents looking into assisted living would be drawn to them to. In this sense, one could argue that a well-kept exterior facility can be part of the marketing effort for the facility. Just as someone might do if they were looking for a new home, a family might simply get in the car and do a number of drive-bys of facilities in their area. If a facility had weeds, garbage, and perhaps worn paint, or siding that was falling apart – more than likely a family won’t be compelled to investigate the facility further.
I also have to project back to my days as a manager in the hospitality industry (a long, long time ago). One of the most truthful of all truths in that industry is that if a property (restaurant, hotel, etc) has issues on the outside, such as greasy floors, dirty bathrooms, and overflowing garbage bins, then you can assume with confidence that the kitchen, or ‘behind the scenes’ areas of the property will be as bad, if not worse.
In this sense, an assisted living facility that is mismanaged and neglected on the outside should give any family or potential resident pause. Assisted Living and long-term care is serious business – where lives, health, and safety are an everyday priority. Would you trust a facility that can’t take the time to shovel snow, repair gutters, or keep their staff from smoking in public view to manage the precision schedule and requirements necessary to make sure that your mom gets the correct medications every day?
Maintaining a positive and attractive public face for any facility is a time and financial commitment – and an important one. We applaud those facilities that take the time to showcase their buildings, and the pride that they put forth into their facilities every single day.