Technology in the Service of Aging in the 21st Century

On March 1st, 2016 the world anxiously awaited the safe return of US astronaut Scott Kelly; NASA’s Commander of the International Space Station.

Commander Kelly spent 340 consecutive days in space aboard the ISS (the International Space Station) and returned to earth with two of his crew mates aboard the Soyuz TMA-18M touching down in Kazakhstan after having conducted numerous scientific experiments in orbit some 270 miles above the earth at speeds exceeding 17,000 miles per hour.

The results of Kelly’s experiments while in orbit above the earth under conditions of micro-gravity will have far reaching implications for those of us who remain earth bound.

If you followed the space station’s adventures over the course of the year-long mission, you were probably mesmerized by the extraordinary photography of the earth taken from space. It was also exceedingly interesting to observe how the astronauts dealt with the effects of micro-gravity in space and how it impacted their daily affairs.

A Down-To-Earth Approach for a New Era!

So too, does gravity affect the world of senior living!

A study by Debajyoti Pati and James Yang[1] armed with a grant from the National Patient Study Foundation, researched fall phenomena from a biomechanical perspective exploring how a simple design feature can enhance fall prevention by applying scientific findings related to the effects of gravity to human behavior.

The human body, like all physical objects, has a center of mass that constantly changes; accelerating and decelerating unless in a resting position. Scientists refer to the phenomenon of “jerk trajectory” whereby the center mass, if in a state of disequilibrium, precipitates the initiation of a fall.

To simplify; pushing and pulling may cause the center of mass of a person to suddenly shift resulting in loss balance and culminate in a fall.

Friendship House at Royal Oaks (Sun City, AZ) Memory Support Resident Apartment

Testable findings from the study encouraged the design of bathrooms which reduce “turnings” (pivotal rotational movement) as much as possible, and advocated for increasing the overall widths of door openings to avoid predictable movements associated with falls related to loss of balance.

Other strategies stemming from the study revealed that fall risk can be significantly reduced by:

Conscientious application of design features that effectively reduce the number and degree of turns one must make in order to access the bathroom door, toilet and sink.

Reduction or elimination of motion that involves two or more of the typical offending postures related to falling: turning and grabbing, or grabbing and pulling.

Avoidance of hinged or swinging doors in patient/resident bathrooms.

The use of wider door openings in order to accommodate easy access by a person.

Incorporation of automatic toilet flushing features or the redesign of flushing mechanisms that facilitate operation from a standing position.

Additionally, the study advocated for the rethinking of heretofore conventional bathroom design in hopes of preventing falls.

Some of the findings suggest that careful examination of the prevailing adjacencies of or physical distances between bathroom fixtures would reduce the need for lateral or sideways shuffling; a common physical practice which often results in a state of disequilibrium and consequent loss of balance.

Other findings hypothesized that thoughtful redesign of patient/resident bathrooms that would allow for door-less entry or allowance for the door being left in an open position while still maintaining privacy would be beneficial.

Finally, the study concluded that simple obstacles along the path of travel from the patient/resident bed to the bathroom or to the clinician zone were often the cause of falls.

[1] A New View on Patient Falls, Debajyoti Pati, Healthcare Design, January/February 2016, Volume 16, No. 1,, Emerald Expositions, publisher.

Committment to Vision requires Expansive Thinking

Thoma-Holec Design completed another strategic planning session on March 8th, 2016.

JW Rayhons; our facilitator, led us through a strategy that would help us to determine the “Thoma-Holec Way”.

Based upon our professional and corporate core values (passionate, compassionate, integrity, innovative, reliable, attention to detail, expertise, and responsive) we determined that “The Thoma Holec Way demands sincerity, devoted to excellence while adding color to life.”

The following video inspired us: Jamey Johnson – In Color

Valued Ongoing Client Relationships


MorningStar Senior Living recently opened new communities in:

Parker, Colorado

Wheatridge, Colorado

Albuquerque, New Mexico

It is with pleasure that we share the photos of our most recent interiors.
The Thoma-Holec Design Team at their most recent Strategic Planning Meeting
MorningStar at Parker (Parker, CO) The Great Room Seating Area
MorningStar at Parker (Parker, CO) Bistro Bar Detail
MorningStar at Wheatridge (Wheatridge, CO) Dining Room and Bistro
MorningStar at Wheatridge (Wheatridge, CO) Life Enrichment Room
MorningStar at Albuquerque (Albuquerque, NM) Lobby