White Oaks of McHenry

McHenry, IL

Household-based design concepts create a new standard of care

Created with a research-based understanding of best practices for the housing and care of residents with dementia, White Oaks of McHenry brings advanced design thinking and intention to a built environment that improves daily life for seniors with memory impairment  — from increased access to three distinct gardens to the design touches that encourage participation in community life. The strategically planned memory care facility in McHenry, Ill. provides a wellness-focused home for 48 seniors, with 32 studio units and 8 companion suites.

White Oaks is designed around a household concept, with four discrete households in which resident units open onto living areas, dining rooms and seating areas, creating a similarity in feel and scale to a single-family home. Visual cues in each household prompt residents to participate in daily activities, increasing the sense of community, independence, and home. Larger common areas include a meditation room, game room and a bright, welcoming winter garden.

Recognizing that year-round access to nature is an important wellness factor for seniors with dementia, WJW designed secure courtyards that allow residents to freely access outdoor spaces, including walking paths, shaded and sunny seating areas and raised garden beds with carefully selected landscaping. Each courtyard has a distinct purpose and identity to assist residents with wayfinding.

WJW’s design not only created a purpose-built home for seniors in need of memory care, but transformed the site, adjacent to Heritage Woods of McHenry Assisted Living, into a harmonious, campus-like atmosphere that is an asset to both residents and the surrounding community.   

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