Claridge Court: Redesigning for wellness

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Claridge Court: Redesigning for wellness
Claridge Court: Redesigning for wellness
At Claridge Court, resident health is paramount and a recently completed renovation puts a physical stamp on that commitment.

The continuing care retirement community outside Kansas City, in Prairie Village, KS, spent $5 million and 18 months redesigning its interior and exterior spaces.

Now residents have easy access to high-tech fitness equipment in a studio designed for physical exercise and a library full of books on nutrition and wellness.

At the heart of the 25-year-old community's renovation is a new 12,000-square-foot addition called the Health Center.

Five-acre Claridge Court is owned by Lifespace Communities. The corporation emphasizes the Six Dimensions of Wellness as a philosophy of care for residents. Called FitSix, the program focuses on physical, social, emotional, spiritual, vocational and intellectual wellness, said Claridge Court Executive Director Rob Salierno.

“With this addition, it is all about choices,” he said. “We are trying to find more opportunities for people in our community to have a healthy life.”

Claridge Court has a total occupancy of 212 residents. The Health Center added 10 private skilled nursing rooms to increase its capacity to 45 residents; Salierno says the occupancy rate is between 98% and 100%.

A staff of 125 serves the residents, including 10 full-time equivalents, as a result of the renovation.

The 10 new Health Center rooms are private units with deluxe beds, bay windows, vaulted ceilings and “roll-in” bathrooms for easy accessibility.

In order to help residents make their rooms “homier,” the facility assigns personal decorators to set up the living space.

The dining area has been reconfigured into a casual dining bistro that offers healthy dining options. The grill is set up so that the chef has personal interaction with diners, creating an intimate atmosphere, Salierno said.

The renovation “is reflective of what is going on at other CCRCs” in the country, said Dale Tremain, the owner and lead architect at Tremain Architects & Planners, who oversaw the renovation.

To achieve greater interior design sophistication, walls were moved or removed entirely to create more open space, Tremain explained.

The mission-style base building flows seamlessly into a more contemporary style in the new wing.

It has large windows, vibrant artwork and fireplaces in common areas.

“It is taking new materials and using them in a different way,” Tremain said. “One space flows to another instead of being disconnected by segregated rooms. Natural light shines into the facility so that people have a better sense of the time of day.”

Overall, the design connects people with their surroundings, both inside and out, Tremain explained.

“People need to have a relationship with nature — especially in a nursing home. Our design allows people to have that connection, even when they are indoors.”

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Lessons Learned:

Urban sites tend to be space restrictive, so additions must be planned carefully

When building on to an existing structure, make sure that the décor is compatible with the original design

The fitness and wellness design trend must go beyond brick and mortar and include necessary support services

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