Designing a Beautiful and Functional (S)PACE for Seniors

Allowing senior citizens to live at home but receive health services, supervision, meals, social interaction and activities daily is at the heart of the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE.

Designing the interior of a PACE facility involves balancing a beautiful and vibrant look with functional planning to meet the health and safety needs of this type of building.

It’s a challenge FS Design Group not only meets but cherishes. Our team’s decades of experience providing interior design for a variety of healthcare facilities gives us the foresight to select materials that are durable, spaces that are easy for people with mobility issues to move in and aesthetics that create a warm, welcoming feel.

“PACE participants spend all day, five days a week, in this environment, so it’s important to us that we contribute to a joyful experience. We hope they look forward to spending their time in the spaces we made for them,” said FS Design Group Principal Designer Bre’an Fox.

For San Ysidro Health, FS Design Group designed, or is designing, the interiors of three PACE facilities: One in Chula Vista, another just completed in Vista and a third underway in National City. We have also designed a PACE facility, currently under construction, for Clinicas del Camino Real in Camarillo.

The Vista PACE facility, which had its grand opening in March 2022, is 20,000 square feet and includes zones for activities. Anchored by a majestic, tiled fireplace, inspired by the area’s Mexican cultural heritage, Vista PACE’s main room has areas for games, arts and crafts, watching television, meetings and small groups to visit. A carpeted walkway around the perimeter, marked by a different color, encourages participants to walk in a safe, comfortable setting.

In addition, there are areas for quiet time offering views of the outdoors, and secluded areas for sleeping.

In support of the PACE model to provide easy access to participants’ healthcare needs, it also includes a clinic, a gym for physical therapy sessions, showers and laundry for personal care assistance. There is also a full commercial kitchen to prepare two meals a day for the more than 600 participants who come daily.

San Ysidro Health’s corporate colors of blue, orange, green and red provided the jumping off point for the interior palette, freshened with brighter shades. Seating incorporates a fun mix of patterned and solid fabrics with different textures. There is plenty of lighting, including striking blue and white pendants throughout the main common space.

The nearly 140 PACE staff members, likewise, appreciate working in the light, bright and welcoming spaces. Operations are more efficient with functional and well-designed offices, a reception desk and a breakroom.

“PACE provides such an amazing service by allowing people to continue to live in their homes rather than an institutional facility, while still having the opportunity to be active, create friendships and receive care. These facilities are a great contribution to San Diego and any community,” Bre’an said.

“We are honored to not only be a part of that service but to enhance it by making it a beautiful space that is enjoyable for the participants and the staff members.”

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