The Top Senior Living Design Trends to Watch in 2024


For developers in the ever-evolving senior living industry, deciding which amenities to include in their projects can be quite a process. These decisions are essential to ensure that their community not only meets the functional and health needs of their senior residents, but also provides a sense of security, belonging, comfort, and even purpose. Looking to emerging, industry-wide trends can help these developers to keep on top of standards and also introduce amenities that will help them stand-out to prospective residents.

As a senior living general contractor with nearly 50 years of experience, we’ve seen our fair share of trends and we’ve compiled a list of the top senior living design trends to watch in 2024. Let’s dive in:

1. Enhanced Dining Options — 

Dining programs have long been considered a crucial element of senior living, designed to not only meet the nutritional needs of residents but also provide a social experience. However, an attractive dining room and cute café are no longer the standard. The goalposts have shifted and Enhanced Dining Options such as elegant dining halls, private dining rooms, bistros, bars, and more are quickly becoming the norm.

Dining halls, such as the one we built for Blue Heron Senior Living, provide a central location for residents to socialize over a meal. Meanwhile private dining options, such as the one we built for HearthStone at Wildwood, give residents the ability to reserve a room for any special events to host guests of the community in a private setting.

Bistros with an open kitchen concept, such as the one we built at the HarborChase of Shaker Heights community that features a wood-fired pizza oven, are gaining popularity as well. Easily accessible to residents, these bistros provide an elevated and entertaining dining experience with a clear view of the chefs preparing their food. With some creativity, these bistros can provide a unique centerpiece for community dining programs to be built around.

Last but not least, bar features can provide a centralized spot for socializing or celebrating events. While their implementation and operation can vary, bars such as the one we built in the HarborChase of Shaker Heights can add a special element to the community dynamic.

2. Pickle Ball Courts

It wasn’t too long ago that we were all clamoring over bocce ball courts and pickle ball wasn’t even a part of the conversation. However, in 2024, you’d be hard-pressed to find a public park that hasn’t converted a tennis court into a pickle ball court. The Senior Living industry is starting to jump on the bandwagon with the rest of the world in 2024. We are starting to see these implemented in the senior living facilities we’re building. We currently have a pickleball court under way at our Verena at Hilliard Cottages project. Out with the bocce ball courts and in with pickle ball!

3. Pools

Having a pool feature has been a staple of Senior Living for our Southeast office for quite some time. However, recently we’ve noticed an uptick of incorporating pools for projects in the Midwest. The addition provides a number of options for residents – whether it’s for relaxing with their neighbors or maintaining physical activities with water aerobics.

4. Recreation Areas

Resident Wellness seems to have taken top-priority for many developers recently as recreational areas whose primary focus is the wellness of residents are growing in popularity. We’ve seem an increased investment in both indoor and outdoor areas.

For example, outdoor courtyards like the one we built in HearthStone at Wildwood provide elegant seating areas for socializing and dining. Additional features such as raised planter beds, turf putting greens, and dog parks further improve residents opportunities for enrichment and community involvement.

Looking indoors, there are a bevy of different options for developers to choose from – each promoting community well-being in their own way. These possibilities include activity rooms, poker rooms, art rooms, billiard rooms, movie theatres, library, and fitness centers.

5. RFID locks  —

Gone are the days of having keys to gain entry to the unit as RFID locks are almost on every project now. Physical keys have been replaced with items such as fobs, key cards, wrist bands, or even an app on a resident’s personal smartphone – simplifying things for residents and allowing for easier access to their units. These locks also offer advanced safety and security to provide peace of mind for owners and operators. One of the biggest benefits is that these are all programed through a computer program, eliminating the need for and unnecessary cost of rekeying locks.

If you have a Senior Living Project, you can trust The Douglas Company. With nearly 50 years of experience, we are dedicated to turning these trends into a reality for our clients – controlling cost and eliminating risk along the way.

Connor Casper
Project Manager
The Douglas Company


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