The visibility of the Over 60 Health Center is reinforced by being located on a prominent street axis and is enhanced through identifiable signage and a ceramic tile installation on the exterior of the building.
Leading up to the entry of the building, are patient drop off zones. With limited parking and 10-20 percent of the Health Center's patients being drivers, there is a potential accessibility problem. Once at the entry of the building, the multi-colored tiles on the exterior facade move into the interior lobby space.
In the reception area, which includes a large, open, and well-lit waiting area, patients stand in line to speak with a staff member behind an open window. One triage room, as well as a multi-purpose room is also provided. The waiting area has multiple options for seating, information on the aging process, and health and community brochures.
A donor wall is featured on one side as well as multiple hand-made and typed signs with information such as "If you have been waiting longer than 15 minutes, inform the receptionist". Several potted plants provide patients and visitors with a small amount of access to nature.
Moving beyond the waiting area and into the clinic space, the environment seems overcrowded and lacking a significant amount of storage. One large nurse station is in the center of the clinic space. The exam rooms that are operational have no views or windows, limited artwork, and white walls. The exam rooms, institutional in color palette and design do not reflect the remainder of the building. Throughout the building corridors are painted in bright color hues including oranges, yellows, greens, and blues. Multiple works of art can be found throughout the space as well.
A roof-top courtyard, shared by the Center for Elders Independence, Senior Housing, and the Health Center, has many places to rest, with benches, gardens, and light wells. A small waiting area is adjacent to the outside courtyard for individuals to enjoy the outside views, without having to go outdoors. Their Health Center has a few deferred maintenance issues, such as worn carpeting and floorboards with watermarks and, while aware of these things, have dedicated time and funds to patient care at this time. There is no visible room to expand; not even open for 10 years, the Health Center has outgrown its space. LifeLong built the largest building it could afford, and its debt service capacity was the limiting factor in the size they could attain. The decision to share the building with the Center for Elder Independence helped to increase the space. While the partnership did not increase space for LifeLong, it did provide a continuum of care for elders through a unique combination of services.
Connection to Community
The Over 60 Health Center is located within a residential neighborhood; the location was chosen to be in the neighborhood where the patients lived and to provide the community with a dedicated place for elder medical care. The artwork within the Health Center was donated by many well known Bay Area artists as a permanent collection for the Health Center. A profile of each artist and their work exists as an opportunity for an educational program to highlight the art collection.
Unique feature: Site includes the Center for Elders Independence, housing dedicated for the elderly, and the Over 60 Health Center. Collaboration and adjacency of the three entities strengthens the programs of each. The second floor of the clinic provides psychological services, and their large conference room helps to facilitate the integration of psychosocial and primary care issues through regular team meetings.
LifeLong Medical Care's Over 60 Health Center in Berkeley, California is a national model of care to serve the elderly. Opening in 1999, the health center offers patients medical, dental, and behavioral care including social services and access to a laboratory. The four-story building along with the Health Center includes the Center for Elders Independence and housing dedicated for the elderly.