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Right Sizing Assisted Living Apartments

An assisted living apartment is a study of public and private spatial organization in a compact enclosure. This is true whether the apartment is a studio, one bedroom or two bedroom. The market trend toward a mix of one and two bedroom dwelings and no studios is a response to consumer expectations, and includes those in the affordable assisted living market. In fact there are pressures pushing the size of assisted living in opposite directions. Accessibility concerns, specifically for wheelchair access cause rooms to be larger, while construction cost and affordability concerns push to reduce the size.

In fact, there is no single solution to designing an assisted living apartment. In an ideal situation one will create distinct areas in the apartment: an entry area, a place to store clothes, a place to store a wheelchair, a fully accessible bath with shower, a kitchenette with a refrigerator, sink and microwave, a sitting/living room area, and a bedroom area in each apartment. This emphasizes the homey-ness of the dwelling. Designers should always be aware of eliminating sharp outside corners- please use only rounded corners!

While each state's minimum requirement varies, a dwelling of approximately 400 square feet, with 200 square feet of clear area is ideal. Building dwelling units of this size as a minimum allows lenders to more favorably regard the project as convertible to apartments as opposed to a single use structure.

The Pennsylvania Assisted Living Consumer Alliance has issued a position paper on room size and the state of Arkansas encourages the 400 square foot size.

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