Oak Trace Healthcare Center Downers Grove, Illinois
Oak Trace is a fifty-year-old Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) that has earned a reputation for excellence in quality senior living. As an organization committed to reinvesting in its communities, Lifespace Communities commissioned a market feasibility study to learn more about the needs of today’s senior population and ascertain the level of demand for their services. The study identified an increased number of seniors who require assisted living, memory care, short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing services. Oak Trace embarked on a strategic plan to relocate and replace their outdated health center with a state-of-the-art Health & Wellness Center. Recently completed, the Health & Wellness Center features a welcoming, two-story canopied, front entryway that enhances way finding. This community houses 66 assisted living apartments, 28 memory care suites, 102 skilled nursing suites, a rehabilitation center with on-site physical, speech, and occupational therapy, an in-patient dialysis center and a fitness center.
Warm colors and interior detailing grace the “small home” design of the skilled nursing and memory care neighborhoods offering privacy and views of interconnected common spaces. This connection of common spaces alleviates fears about skilled nursing and memory care by creating a life-giving, respectful home setting. The skilled nursing and memory care suites enjoy large windows that create day lighting, warm the corridors and common spaces and frame a view of the serene courtyard. Interior common spaces are situated around an outdoor, wandering garden that encourages memory care residents to walk along its safe, understandable path. The design of the Healthcare Center promotes health and wellness for skilled and memory care residents in a “small house” design with comfortably scaled neighborhoods at each level of care. Resident suites are surrounded by common areas, expansive windows, natural day lighting and scenic views. A secure, looping memory garden surrounds the common spaces providing a safe, understandable walking path for memory care residents. The assisted living apartments feature well-appointed finishes and detailing that closely align with the decor of the independent living apartments. These touches are meant to engender the pride and independence of home. Each building’s public spaces and circulation routes surround a new lush landscaped quad that provides enhanced day lighting and a central focal point for way finding throughout campus. This connectivity of public spaces throughout all the buildings around a large central quad, combined with lush landscaping and walking paths, blurs the perceptual barriers between levels of care and assists in community development. This bright and appealing “home-like” environment was achieved throughout the campus with quality interior finishes, warm colors and natural lighting. Well-appointed common spaces include a two-story dining and great room, a sculptural fireplace with built-in millwork and display shelves, an expansive library, restaurant style dining and a multi-purpose room to inspire people to feed their bodies, minds and spirits. The beauty salon, fitness center, chapel, gift shop and winding paths remind people to partake in self-care and the simple pleasures of a healthy lifestyle.
To find out more about the next phases of development, please see the following project page.
Third Place Winner in the Life Plan – CCRC Category for the 2019 Senior Housing News Architecture & Design Awards
Published in the 2019 Design for Aging Review Publication