Where home is really homey

Interior room with fireplace and tv

July 22, 2014 • Candace Wilson • Healthcare

Tom Montgomery’s professional future may have been decided when he was just a boy visiting his grandmother in her nursing home. “They weren’t great places back then,” Montgomery recalls.  As an adult, he would change all that.

Montgomery, vice president and Senior Care studio lead, specializes in designing environments that allow seniors to make themselves completely at home. In the past, long-term residential facilities housed several residents in one space and were heavily centralized. “There was one huge dining room and one huge common room,” Montgomery recalls. “Residents often had to have a roommate. Those facilities bore little or no resemblance to the private homes people had just left behind.”

That’s not the case in the facilities he and his team design. The challenge today, he explains, is to provide a home that allows privacy, preserves dignity, and encourages seniors to carve out a new neighborhood for themselves.

Tom has utilized a Main Street concept in a number of his designs. In the $14 million Larksfield Place memory care facility in Wichita, Kansas, a central thoroughfare offers amenities you’d find in the heart of any small town, including a post office, movie theatre, library, and dining options.  The facility is designed to gather residents in groups of 16 or fewer, as opposed to one large group. The goal is to bring useful, meaningful elements into each residence design. Smaller, more varied common areas not only give residents choices, they’re also more desirable and functional when family members come to visit.

Montgomery has been instrumental in facilitating enormous changes in residential options available to the seniors. And his bottom line? “When I reach that age, I’ll have no problem living in any facility like those I design.”