What makes a senior living facility a place where older adults will want to live? Certainly, a basic level of cleanliness and upkeep is expected. A friendly atmosphere is important. Beyond that, some of the more popular senior residences are those with added resources such as laundry services, transportation services, social events, gathering rooms, and gym facilities.
These housing units always look for ways to add amenities and attract new residents. Older adults especially appreciate features that enable them to get out and about and socialize. It’s important for residents to feel that they’re part of a community and can engage in some of the activities they’ve enjoyed all their lives.
The Solution: a Patio for Grilling
Few things feel as homey as an outdoor barbecue. Most seniors have enjoyed hundreds of them over the years. There’s nothing like a backyard evening in the company of family and friends enjoying delicious home-cooked food.
Senior living facilities come in all shapes and sizes, and all of them will improve with a fine grilling patio. There are 55+ apartments and condos where residents live independently but share a common pool, patio, and meeting room area. There are care centers where only some of the residents are independent, and nurses are available 24/7. No matter the makeup of the residents and the staff, if there’s a common outdoor area, there’s an opportunity to turn it into a special gathering spot with patio grills and patio heaters.
Once a vibrant social patio is established, the fun doesn’t stop when dinner is over. There can be card and board games on the patio in a comfortable setting with patio heaters, day and evening. The patio becomes an ideal spot to linger over the morning cup of coffee and the newspaper. Just reading a book or chatting with neighbors becomes a special time when a patio is set up to be as inviting as possible.
A grilling patio is a great place for residents to entertain families. The grandchildren will welcome the opportunity to run about while the parents put their culinary skills to work. If it’s just grown-ups in attendance, the menu can pivot from burgers and dogs to feature delectables such as steak, chicken, and chops.
Patio Grilling Products
An inviting patio is sure to get a ton of use, so it’s important to have grills and heaters that are durable and reliable. They need to be simple for seniors to operate and easy to care for.
The T-Series grills from AEI Corporation are a perfect choice for hard-working patio grills for senior centers or retirement communities. These durable grills are used worldwide in apartments, condos, golf clubs, sailing clubs, and restaurants with outdoor kitchens. They’re available in rugged cast aluminum or stainless steel.
These are commercial grills built to stand up to repeated use every day. The emphasis is on quality construction and practical features rather than fancy bells and whistles. A T-Series grill is suitable for a grandparent grilling a few burgers for the crew and a program director concocting a feast for the whole building. They grill, they roast, and they even have a rotisserie option.
They’re available with lift-assist grill handles. That means that a person with an arm in a cast or a senior in a wheelchair can easily open and close the device.
Perhaps the most prized feature of these grills is the PGS FuelStop® one-hour gas flow timer. In a large community where not everyone always remembers to shut things off and put them away, a gas burner that’s left on is an issue. At best, it’s a waste of fuel, and at worst, it’s a safety hazard. But that won’t even happen with a PGS T-Series grill! The gas automatically shuts off after an hour. Building managers can rest assured that the fuel won’t keep running if a resident accidentally leaves the grill running.
These grills can be mounted on wheeled carts or in grilling islands designed to fit them. They can also be custom-mounted into outdoor countertops. They are available in both natural gas and liquid propane models.
An outdoor grilling space is a superb amenity for sunny days and fine summer evenings, but there’s no reason to limit the good times to balmy weather. With patio heaters, you can keep the party going even when the air gets nippy. That’s a boon for seniors, many of whom become chilled more readily than they did in their younger years.
There are several types of patio heaters for senior centers, and one of them is right for the outdoor space you have in mind.
In outdoor restaurant dining areas, you often see mushroom heaters. They’re the ones with circular tops resting on long poles. These can be natural gas heaters with the fuel source directly below them in cement. Alternatively, liquid propane mushroom heaters have a tank at the base. They’re usually on wheels, so you can roll them anywhere on the patio.
Mushroom heaters radiate warmth in a 360-degree pattern and are suitable for large patios. You should analyze the size and shape of your patio to figure out how many you need and where to put them.
If there’s a convenient wall or other structure, a box or rectangular heater may be a better option. These heaters mostly run on electricity or natural gas, and are either hard-wired into the building circuitry or piped to the property's natural gas line. They can be mounted on a wall or pointed down from the ceiling of a covered patio. Some can even be inset so that they’re flush to their surface.
Enjoying a Well-Appointed Patio
A patio by itself is just a slab where people might set some chairs and visit for a spell. A patio with a grill becomes a gathering place. When there’s a commercial grill, such as a PGS T-Series, the gathering place can support a crowd. The food can be better and more plentiful, and the good times just keep expanding.
When you add patio heaters to a senior residence, you have created a new room for your building. Like a game room or a meeting room, it provides a common place where residents can entertain friends and family. With a safe and easy-to-operate grill, many of them will be able to prepare their delicious outdoor meals, and others will have meals cooked for them, either by their visitors or by the staff.
With the right arrangement of patio heaters, no one will have to button up their sweater and retreat to the indoors when the temperature dips. The patio won’t sit unused as autumn creeps in.
When the elderly and their families start checking out senior facilities, they look for places where the things they enjoyed in their old homes won’t be left behind. For many, grilling out and entertaining on the patio was an important aspect of their social life. They’ll want to live where they can continue to enjoy the pleasures of outdoor cookery and time with friends and family in a pleasant natural setting.