Join HKS at the 2022 Environments for Aging Conference

Held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from April 2-5, the 2022 Environments for Aging Conference will feature four presenters from HKS who will share the latest innovations and best practices in senior living design.

The HKS speakers will discuss a variety of topics ranging from the value of flexible, small households to the power of neuroscience-informed design so architects, interior designers, senior living managers and hospital professionals attending the conference can have fresh ideas to take back to their communities.

This year’s conference will also mark a new milestone for HKS Senior Designer Grant Warner, who will receive a Design Champion Award for helping change the way health care communities are designed and ensuring that they can serve seniors equitably and adaptively.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference to exchange ideas and discuss new opportunities.

Here are the conference sessions involving HKS speakers:

Monday, April 4 at 10:30 a.m.: Sensory Well-being Hub: A Prototype for Application in Memory Support (Session E19)

Presenters will share a sensory well-being hub prototype developed through an integrated design and research approach. The hub includes the four key elements of an enriched environment — sensory, physical, social, and cognitive stimulation — all of which can help to preserve cognitive abilities. Designed stimulation can assist with regulating circadian rhythms, orienting to seasonal changes, and providing familiar environments. Research supporting the hub’s development will be shared, along with key design principles and a tool to create such environments. Finally, ideas for implementation in real-world memory centers will be shared.

Presenters: HKS Director of Research, Dr. Upali Nanda; HKS Senior Interior Designer Lisa Adams

Monday, April 4 at 2:30 p.m.: Flexible Small Households: Post-Occupancy Evaluation of the Vista at CC Young (Session E25)

The Vista at CC Young in Dallas represents a new design concept in senior living with ultimate flexibility to adapt each of its sixteen-person small households to changing market demands and resident needs. The project represents a strategic shift in the community’s licensed care efficiencies, consolidating the operations of four separate buildings into one cohesive complex. Careful planning separated resident and staff areas for improved privacy and security, which was useful during the pandemic. This session will assess how the original design intent translated to measurable and meaningful impact, under normal and pandemic circumstances.

Speakers: HKS Senior Designer Grant Warner; CC Young President Russell Crews

Tuesday, April 5 at 10:45 a.m.: From Cognitive Decline to Brain Health: The Power of Neuroscience-Informed Design (Session 39)

Cognitive impairment is a major health and social issue due to a rapidly aging population. While it is important to understand neurobiological causes and protective factors of age-related cognitive decline, evidence also indicates the brain can generate new cells and grow, even as it ages. Research suggests our environments can positively affect brain structures, thereby slowing cognitive decline. This interactive session blends neuroscience and empathy to explore how design can go beyond prevention to promote brain health and positive stereotypes of aging. An open-source report with design prompts and interactive empathy exercises will be shared as a foundation for this evidence-based ideation session.

Speakers: HKS Director of Research, Dr. Upali Nanda; and HKS Senior Designer Grant Warner