Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 120

THE SPARK

Close
connection
Watching his grandparents age
and their housing needs change,
Jami Mohlenkamp, principal at
OZ Architecture, set out to build
a better foundation for all

M

y first experience
with a

120

EFAmagazine.com * Spring 2020

from very healthy to passing away in a rehabilitation center within a span of 60 days.
These experiences gave me an up-close
look at care environments from the perspectives of the residents, their families, and the
care staff, and, ultimately, it inspired me to
seek out a larger role in the firm's senior living
studio. There, I've moved from my role as an
intern to architect, because I wanted to put that
perspective to good use and pursue greater
innovation in design for the aging. For example,
for one research project at OZ, I interviewed
numerous care providers, residents, and family
members of older adults in care communities to analyze how they experienced these
environments. To augment that research, I
purchased a wheelchair for our design team to
use in the office to broaden our understanding
of navigating the world with a mobility device.
Furthermore, my sole surviving grandparent,
my grandmother, became my "inside source"
about life as an 80-something, sharing her

experiences on the importance of socializing
with others and staying independent.
Now, looking back, I see that I have synthesized her insight with my own research and
experiences into a design ethos that I try to
bring to work every day. I'm passionate about
creating spaces that elevate the daily living
experience, enable aging in place, and allow
for independence and wellness of residents.
My grandmother still lives in the home she and
my grandfather shared, and, so far, my family
has been unable to convince her to move into
long-term care. Still, my hope is that my work
leaves a foundation that we can continue to
build on to advance this industry and improve
the lives of seniors. EFA

If you're interested in sharing the story of what
ignited your passion for senior living design,
contact Executive Editor Anne DiNardo at anne.
dinardo@emeraldx.com.

NIEN-KEN ALEC LU

nursing home came
on a visit to see my
great-grandfather
when I was 6 years
old. I remember the
building was dark,
old-looking inside
and out, and it smelled funny. The bedrooms
were shared with only a curtain between the
beds. Even at that young age, the space made
me feel uncomfortable.
When I was 16 years old, I got my first job
working at a senior living community helping prepare food in the kitchen and serving
the residents. Although this place provided
high-quality care, it still felt dated and not at all
homelike. The experience solidified the sense
of joy I feel in the company of older adults, but
it also opened my eyes to just how important a
community's design and staff are to providing
residents with the kind of care and experience
they deserve as they age.
Fast forward about a decade to architecture
school, when a professor asked me and my
classmates during a lecture to close our eyes
and picture a built environment that made us
feel physically uncomfortable. My mind immediately went to that nursing home I visited
when I was 6. It was my epiphany-the moment I realized I could play a role in designing
better living environments for older adults like
my grandparents. During my first architecture
internship at OZ Architecture, I worked for a
principal who designed older adult housing.
The work was intriguing to me and coincided
with my grandparents reaching the later stages
of their lives. I watched two grandfathers move
into memory care and my grandmother go


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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Environments for Aging - Spring 2020

Environments for Aging - Spring 2020
Contents
EFAmagazine.com
Editorial
Show Talk
Bulletin
Photo Tour
Community
New traditions
Smart techniques
Welcome
2020 jury/award winners and finalists
Forward thinkers
Meet in the middle
Standout solutions
Top marks
Project directory
EFA Design Showcase
The Spark
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Environments for Aging - Spring 2020
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Cover2
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 1
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Contents
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 3
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 4
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 5
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - EFAmagazine.com
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 7
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 8
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Editorial
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Show Talk
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 11
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Bulletin
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 13
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 14
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 15
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Photo Tour
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 20
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Community
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 22
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 23
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - New traditions
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Smart techniques
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 35
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Welcome
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 2020 jury/award winners and finalists
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Forward thinkers
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 40
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 41
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Meet in the middle
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 45
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Standout solutions
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Top marks
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Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 53
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 54
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - 55
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - Project directory
Environments for Aging - Spring 2020 - EFA Design Showcase
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