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Perkins Eastman Research releases white paper on ‘Centers for Healthy Living’ and whole-person wellness

Among the spotlight projects used as case studies for this white paper are C.C. Young, Dallas, Texas; Clark-Lindsey Village, Urbana, Ill.; Moorings Park, Naples, Fla.; NewBridge on the Charles, Dedham, Mass.; Rockwood Retirement Living: The Summit, Spokane, Wash.; Saint John’s on the Lake, Milwaukee, Wis.; and Spring Lake Village, Santa Rosa, Calif.

November 01, 2016 |

Pixabay Public Domain

International design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman announced the publication of its latest white paper, “Centers for Healthy Living: Providing Whole-Person Wellness to Seniors,” co-authored by Associate and Senior Design Researcher Emily Chmielewski EDAC, and Associate Claire Dickey AIA, who are based in the firm’s Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., offices, respectively. The report is the culmination of a comprehensive design research study, conducted by the firm’s in-house research group, which examines what existing centers for healthy living (CHLs) are doing today and how they may evolve to better serve the complex needs of seniors.

Centers for healthy living, a new building typology that supports seniors through all eight dimensions of wellness, are currently being developed all over the U.S. in various forms and serving a diversity of needs, either within Life Plan Community campuses or as stand-alone community centers. Rather than adhering to a one-size-fits-all model, today’s CHLs vary widely in terms of services offered, which in turn reflects the fact that there are many definitions of “wellness.” According to one survey participant, the COO of a prominent residential and care provider in a suburb of Washington, D.C., “With so many definitions of wellness, a successful CHL needs to be able to adjust and adapt to be all inclusive and participatory.”

With the number of older adults in the U.S. in need of long-term services and support projected to grow from 15 million to 27 million by the year 2050, there is a distinct need to explore where and how senior services are delivered.

“CHLs help bridge the gap between the senior living and healthcare sectors, yet they go beyond the typical provision of clinic and exercise spaces to address all eight dimensions of whole-person wellness,” write the authors.

While this holistic approach is optimal, research study findings suggest that some providers tend to focus more on residents’ physical and social wellness, and pay less attention to accommodating the other six. This white paper explores the causes behind this (e.g. certain dimensions of wellness are easier to support and quantify), among other things, and offers informed, research-based recommendations for how CHLs of the future and corresponding models of care can better meet the wellness needs of seniors.

This white paper was produced and edited under the guidance and design expertise of Perkins Eastman’s Senior Living leadership team. The release of “Centers for Healthy Living” coincides with this year’s LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo (October 30 – November 2), being held in Indianapolis, IN. The entire paper is available for free download at

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