One Man’ s Innovative Design For A Nursing Home Could Be The Template For Improved Senior Living

An engaging, familiar environment could serve as better treatment than drugs.

If everything goes according to plan, Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities, will be sending more patients home than he will take in.

It’s a strange goal, but the changes Makesh is making aren’t with the bottom line in mind, but the care and dignity of his patients. No matter how luxurious of comfortable a facility is, it can still depress the residents’ quality of life if only because they get depressed from not spending enough time outside.

Knowing expansive outdoor areas, security, and more accessibility features aren’t attainable with many of his properties’ budgets, Makesh has sought to bring the outdoors inside the facilities.


He’s not only created outdoor streetscapes, complete with porches, sunrises, and sunsets, but also adopted a timely decor that can envelop the residents in fond, comforting memories of their earlier years. Makesh said, prior to adopting the innovations, "I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that's when I realized, 'Oh my god, I have no clue.'"

The concept is currently being tested in Lantern’s Madison, Ohio facility with two new facilities slated to roll out this year.


Rather than getting a sterile doorway off a sterile hallway, residents in this facility are treated to their own “homes.” The articulation in the hallways, with jutting walls, sconces, and streetlamps all create a level of engagement for the residents that hasn’t been available in Lantern’s market segment.


While engagement may sound like a creature comfort, Makesh insists that it’s engagement with the surrounding environment that could save a demented or depressive patient from being written off as a lost cause. Using an environment that stimulates response and engagement, Makesh isn’t just hoping that his patients buy time or experience a marginal quality of life. Rather, he’s looking to a near future in which the environment creates patients so self-sufficient that they don’t just improve...they leave the facility.

He says, "In five years, we're going to [be able to] rehabilitate our clients where they can live independently in our environment. In 10 years, we're going to be able to send them back home."

It might sound farfetched, but in an industry that’s rife with abuse, impersonal oversight, and overmedication, a little ambition and empathy, even if it falls short of Makesh’s goal, could offer a change welcomed by a generation of baby boomers that may find themselves clients of his soon enough.


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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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