January 6, 2023
CHICAGO, IL—Focus Healthcare Partners LLC, a Chicago-based private real estate investment firm specializing in the senior housing sector, announced earlier this week that Shenandoah Memory Care at The Virginian received a gold award in the 2022 Environments for Aging (EFA) remodel/renovation competition. Shenandoah Memory Care at The Virginian will be presented with the competition’s top honor for the design of two unique engagement areas: the reminiscence lounge and the sensory lounge in the new memory care community.
“Congratulations to the project team for demonstrating how a quality memory care program can be achieved within an existing space, thanks to the implementation of thoughtful, evidence-based solutions that truly support residents, staff and families,” said EFA Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Kovacs Silvis.
Shenandoah Memory Care at The Virginian is the first completed phase of the $60 million renovation of The Virginian, a senior housing community that offers a full continuum of care, including luxury independent living rental apartment homes, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, short-term rehab and respite care. The Virginian was purchased by an affiliate of Focus Healthcare Partners LLC in 2019, and is one of the largest senior living redevelopments underway in the Washington, D.C. area.
“We set out to create a next generation model for memory care for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. This recognition is a testament to our approach to integrating best-in-class design and advancements in technology, with the tremendous creativity and passion of our team,” said Michael Feinstein, managing director of Focus Healthcare Partners LLC.
Shenandoah Memory Care at The Virginian was chosen for the top award out of 27 submissions to the program that celebrates outstanding renovations of existing single spaces within senior living communities. Fifteen jurors—which included architects, interior designers, consultants and providers in the senior living industry—reviewed, scored and commented on projects.
“A meaningful and magnificent transformation of small ordinary spaces into a first-rate memory care social center,” one jury member explained. “Kudos to the design team and owner for providing key design elements that promote independence for the residents.”
Andrew Carle served as an operating and design consultant to the project. “Our goal was to take existing design practices and elevate them to a new level to maximize the ability of memory care residents to access their retained skills, interests and engagement with others,” said Carle, who is an adjunct faculty member and the lead instructor for the graduate curricula in senior living administration at Georgetown University.
Each of Shenandoah’s award-winning engagement areas has been deliberately designed to allow for multi-themed activities that residents can access either individually or through group participation. The remodel and renovation of Shenandoah Memory Care’s common space includes a reminiscence/reception lounge that features 1950s/1960s memorabilia and local landmark photos that were selected by residents, including local high school yearbooks, photos of Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. retailers, historical imagery and vintage soft drinks and snacks, which appeal to the “reminiscence bump” of residents with dementia.
The full-scale sensory lounge was designed as an open concept area so that residents can engage in activities through multiple technologies across their full spectrum of senses for sight, sound, touch and smell/taste. The sensory lounge includes a new hand-motion gaming system called OBIE, which was scientifically designed for memory care and has been demonstrated to improve cognitive stimulation and motor skills. Other technologies include MyndVR virtual reality, SingFit music technology and LifeBio evidence-based reminiscence therapy. The memory care neighborhood is also among the first to utilize the Lutron Circadian Lighting System that can be individually programmed in conjunction with aroma and sound therapy.
“In addition to the award-winning reminiscence lounge and sensory lounge, every aspect of the Shenandoah Memory Care community was designed with the varying stages of memory loss in mind, including color-coded cueing, wayfinding ‘neighborhoods,’ interactive artwork and a dual-themed reminiscence courtyard—all within a secured setting,” said Carle.