Guest Blogger: Keith Gray, Director of Applied Research, J+J Flooring Group
My career in research spans several decades, across many scientific fields, but I find that elevating the senior lifestyle experience is the most satisfying of all. So, it should come as no surprise how delighted I was to join a SAGE research team, tasked with developing a Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) study for a senior community called Cypress Cove--specifically their four household-style memory care areas.
As with most POEs, we were out to determine how effectively the original design met the actual desired outcomes, especially from the perspectives of residents, their families, and staff. However, there is much that makes this POE project exceptional in terms of approach. Previous POEs were typically generated within a few days before a major conference, and at a nearby community, which limits the options for communities to study, and leaves only a few days to sort, classify and analyze data and develop the POE report and presentation.
Some special funding made it possible to do things differently this year. I am pleased that my company, J+J Flooring Group, collaborated with SAGE on both financial and manpower support--based on our company’s commitment to being more than just flooring providers to senior communities.
With no geographical constraints to deal with, SAGE secured participation by an award-winning community in Florida, hundreds of miles from, and three months in advance of, the EFA conference in Savannah. As a result, rather than having a few days to write the report, the SAGE team has almost three months to study the data, write the white paper and develop the presentation for SAGE to present at EFA. That alone promises to yield an excellent report in every way.
But it gets even better. SAGE stepped up with a strong six-member team, including: Amy Carpenter, an architect who specializes in senior living; Migette Kaup, a designer from academia who is also a senior living specialist; Fred Worley, an expert on regulatory affairs; Teresa Whittington, a nurse who oversees the clinical and business operations of the healthcare services areas of a senior-living community; Robert Soler, an expert on circadian lighting; and—yours truly--a materials scientist that has studied the intersection of flooring and human performance for 31 years. This diverse set of specialists brings perhaps an unprecedented range of perspectives for a SAGE POE. On the community side, we were given the full and complete cooperation of administration and staff. We had access to staff, residents and their families, and the entire community.
Another extraordinary advantage we enjoyed was that the lead architect for the original project was able to join us and gave us a thorough briefing on the original design goals for the community. Accordingly, we could structure the POE to focus on those desired outcomes—and learn from the residents and staff if those design goals produced the desired results, which opens the door to forward thinking about an even better design.
The researcher in me couldn’t be more excited. Working together as companies and professionals, the SAGE POE project promises to yield powerful insights for the future. My colleagues and I will be able to study every angle, point and nuance of an environment that was already world-class. This project is living proof how industry collaboration can take the industry farther and faster than any organization can working alone. Make it a point to visit the SAGE exhibit at EFA this April and join us at the presentation to learn the POE results—and get your copy of the SAGE POE whitepaper for a permanent reference resource.
Keith Gray, Director of Applied Research, J+J Flooring
Keith Gray is known for pioneering the launch of evidence-based design research for the flooring industry. With his unique approach to studying the comprehensive effects of flooring on humans, human performance and institutional facility outcomes. Gray leads J+J’s human-centered research initiatives with his keen sense and ability to mine for narrative findings. A scientist and engineer by training, Gray holds more than 50 U.S. and foreign patents. He has been invited to present his findings with global architecture and design firms. Gray holds an advanced degree in polymer science.
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