Memory Center at Osborn Receives National Award

The Osborn’s H.O.P.E Center for Memory Care has been named Best Stand-Alone Memory Care facility in the second annual Senior Housing Design Awards.

Published February 9, 2015 7:58 PM
4 min read


OS-thThe Osborn’s H.O.P.E Center for Memory Care has been named Best Stand-Alone Memory Care facility in the second annual Senior Housing Design Awards.

Osborne-1514The Osborn’s H.O.P.E Center for Memory Care has been named Best Stand-Alone Memory Care facility in the second annual Senior Housing Design Awards. The nationwide competition, which is sponsored by Senior Housing News, recognizes projects and companies that are improving the lives of seniors through innovative design. The Award will be presented at a special event to be held in Dallas in March.  

Located on The Osborn’s 56-acre campus in Rye, the Center is designed for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders that compromise cognitive ability. The Center, which opened in spring 2013, is designed for residents who can still perform some daily living activities, but also benefit from professional care and support in a social, neighborhood-style setting.

In selecting the H.O.P.E Center, the five-person judging panel of leading architects and designers noted the cutting-edge design, excellence, and innovation in senior living. In particular, the panel praised the “right size” of the Center that is limited to 13 residents, the outstanding home-like interior design with many adaptations for the memory impaired, and the creative interpretation of an existing space.  

osborne 1509The Center features private rooms with private baths, a community kitchen, a great room with fireplace and entertainment center, a creative arts center, and a bright and airy sunroom. Just as they would at home, residents are able to choose their favorite activities, from listening to music, to the creative arts, to watching movies with friends, and walking in the secure, adjacent, beautiful Betty Neagle perennial garden.

In touring the facility this week, we saw residents engaged in conversation and activities and enjoying the warmth of the sunroom. One of the residents accompanied us and was as interested as we were to learn how the center’s name was chosen and the ideas behind the design of open and individual spaces.

In thinking about what kind of place The Osborn wanted to create, Jane Fox, Vice President of Marketing and Fund Development, suggested, “it should be one of hope.” The name stuck. She ventured further: “It should also be homelike. The plan gives each resident privacy  — no door opens into someone else’s room — and plenty of space in which to mingle, socialize, and take part in scheduled activities.” She added with a smile, “It’s a horizontal B & B. Every room looks out on either the Neagle Garden or the South Lawn.”

Outside each bedroom is a memory box in which cherished photos and figurines are placed and replaced by family members, HOPE Center Supervisor Emily Minott explained. “Some residents ask to have their own longtime furnishings brought in — a dresser, a headboard, a painting, a nightstand of books — and we encourage their families to do so.”

All of the large framed photographs in the hallways were chosen because they are reminiscent of the period in which the residents were young or in the prime of life. They pause at the charming photos of an old-fashioned bicycle with a basket in front, saddle shoes, spools of thread.

Seeing the staff — from the kitchen crew to the administrators — interact with residents, you are struck by their closeness. Minott’s office is not much bigger than a vintage British phone booth. “I have a desk and a place for my files,” but I’m rarely in it.” More often you’ll find her taking part in crafts activities with them and watching “Jeopardy” — one of the residents’ favorite weeknight activities.

“Many of them are pretty independent,” said Minott. “They even want to do their own laundry. We encourage them to use old skills — even baking — and try new ones.”

“Our extraordinarily caring professionals and in-house project management team, together with our colleagues at the Alzheimer’s Resource Center of Connecticut and the wonderful design team of RLPS Architects, collaborated on an exceptional home that incorporates the key ideas of some of the best and brightest in the field of dementia care,” noted Osborn President and CEO Mark Zwerger. “This honor reinforces The Osborn’s 106-year-old legacy of providing superior care to exceed the needs and expectations of older adults.” 

— Photos by Robin Jovanovich

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