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Senior Living Developers Rely on Modular Construction

Developers use modular construction to help fulfill housing wishes of 55+ consumers

Senior Living Developments

Many people with aging parents dread having “the conversation” about the need to move to an assisted living facility. What makes this conversation so tough is they know for the senior parent such a move can mean a loss of freedom and dignity.

“In most nursing homes, and in many assisted living services, a very important element has been forgotten: home,” explains Action Pact (Manhattan, Kansas), a development firm specializing in senior living. “Without it, our elders experience a loss of joy and meaning in their lives.” To better meet the wishes of seniors, Action Pact focuses on transforming assisted living into warm and pleasant households.

It’s an approach taking hold among senior living advocates and providers. The Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging’s Survey of Trends in Senior Living revealed that one of the top five trends in the field is “senior residences are beginning to adopt smaller, home-like environments.”

“Elderly people don’t want to be in an institution; they want a much more house-like setting,” adds Bradford Perkins, FAIA, MRAIC, AICP, founder of Perkins Eastman Architects. In a BD+C magazine article entitled “facilities, “Perkins describes this more enlightened approach to senior housing.

In early 2017, Methodist Homes of Alabama and Northwest Florida opened a renovated and expanded Fair Haven Retirement Community in Birmingham, Alabama. The $42 million project built by Golden Construction used Action Pact’s philosophy of creating households that feature their own kitchen, dining room, living room and private sleeping quarters.

To achieve this vision, Golden Construction pursued innovative construction methods. “We needed to bring speed to the project to drive financing cost down and create room in the budget for items important to meeting the owner’s vision for these buildings,” says Hunter Benton, project manager for Golden Construction. These features included cove lighting, in-room heating/cooling controls and other finishes for a home-like environment.

To trim two months from the construction schedule and reduce project costs when developing its bid, Golden specified SurePods prefabricated bathroom units. In addition to speeding construction, Benton noted, “Having the bathrooms prefabricated offsite gave us an opportunity to combat the increasing workload the market put on the labor resources in our area.”

An article in Senior Housing News calls modular construction “the best-kept secret in senior living development,” due to its ability to speed construction and drive down costs, while providing quality living environments. “Modular construction is rooted in technology and sophistication,” says Jason Hess, CEO of assisted living provider Elite Care. “You wouldn’t want a BMW built in a muddy field. You would want that BMW built in a factory offering laser-guided precision. That’s how we view our developments.”


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