Environments for Aging - Winter 2022 - 21

DANIEL SHOWALTER
Vanessa Shumate
NCARB, AIA, LEED AP, SENIOR PROJECT ARCHITECT, SENIOR
ENVIRONMENT SPECIALIST, AMERICAN STRUCTUREPOINT INC.
(INDIANAPOLIS)
V
ANESSA SHUMATE'S APPROACH to senior
living design is guided by a deep commitment
to establishing trusted partnerships
with not just her clients but the residents they
serve. She achieves this via a research-driven approach
that digs deep into each community's specific
needs to identify the environments that will best
serve both residents and staff . Key to this process is
data. Shumate applies numerous research methods
to gain the information necessary to guide design
and push for new solutions. In the past 18 months
alone, she applied these methods to a mature existing
community to understand its current state and
future needs, collecting data from staff and resident
meetings, community board members, and through
deep-dive meetings with staff and administration.
Th is work helped uncover the need for additional
residential care apartments and new memory care
suites as well as dining and amenity updates.
With budget in mind, Shumate developed a
plan to renovate a portion of the existing campus
for the needed apartments while also creating a
new memory care household. And she accomplished
it with residents and staff by her side,
ensuring they could " tour " the design via virtual
reality headsets and provide feedback on the design
as it progressed. Th roughout the nine-month
process, she created a design that responds to
current trends while also supporting what she
learned from users along the way.
EFA: How do you manage user involvement and input
to ensure it informs design for the bett er?
Shumate: I work to establish the client's decision-makers
right at the start. Cultivating an open
relationship with staff and residents means that
there will be a lot of data to consume, and I need
to know from the beginning who has the fi nal say
on the design and how we will address design revisions
based on the data collected.
I collect data from residents and staff through
various means including questionnaires, interviews,
and guided discussions. I then analyze the
data for commonalities that can be used to create
content. Th at content is reviewed fi rst with the decision-makers
and then with the staff /residents to
confi rm outcomes based on their responses to my
queries. Th is allows me to check any assumptions
I make against the intent of the community. It also
allows me the opportunity to press for change. If I
receive a response and delve deeper into the " why "
behind the response, I will often learn if the response
is driven by unconscious bias toward maintaining
current workfl ow or if responses are based
on evidence and needs.
What are some best practices you've identified in
leveraging technology in this process?
To make the best use of the technology, you need to
establish expectations at the very beginning. A fully
rendered virtual reality model that contains real materials
will take time to create, whereas a white-box
model can serve the same purpose much earlier in
the project. If you treat the model as an evolving organism
that grows as you develop the design rather
than a stationary object, you can provide your client
more investment in the process and help them realize
goals as they are created. Th e process takes time,
so design schedules must be developed with the intent
to share information in this manner.
Your recent work includes a memory care environment.
Where have you found there's room for the
industry to improve on this front?
I ask each person on my team the same question
on each project: " How would you want to
live if you lived here? " When you look at a design
through that perspective, you start looking for the
limitations you are creating with it. My goal is to
eliminate those limitations. Far too often we, as an
industry, want to segregate our memory-impaired
residents from the rest of the population, which
limits mental stimulation and cognitive development.
New experiences fuel our minds. When
we create environments that off er residents the
chance to wander, to touch objects, to have active
time as well as alone time, we're creating a safe
place where they can thrive instead of exist.
Astral at Franklin, Franklin, Ind.
winter 2022 | 21

Environments for Aging - Winter 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Environments for Aging - Winter 2022

Environments for Aging - Winter 2022 - Cover1
Environments for Aging - Winter 2022 - Cover2
Environments for Aging - Winter 2022 - 1
Environments for Aging - Winter 2022 - 2
Environments for Aging - Winter 2022 - 3
Environments for Aging - Winter 2022 - 4
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Environments for Aging - Winter 2022 - Cover3
Environments for Aging - Winter 2022 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/202404
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/202312
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/202306
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/2023spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/efa-2022-winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/2022summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/2022spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/2021Winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/Summer2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/Spring2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/fall2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/summer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2020summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2020spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2019fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2019summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2019spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2018fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2018summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2018spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2017fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2017spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2017winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2016fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2016spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/201510
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com