The War Horse: Yountville Veterans Home a tailored response to aging veteran population

Yountville Hallway

June 1, 2023

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Yountville Veterans Home, the oldest and largest of its kind in the United States, is featured in a thorough new story from The War Horse that focuses on the rapidly growing population of aging veterans and the challenges in meeting their evolving needs.

Yountville Hero
The Yountville campus is registered as a National Historic District within the Napa Valley area.

Our design team worked on the 240-bed addition at Yountville that will provide long-term care for senior and disabled veterans, including those with dementia and traumatic brain injuries. The design caters to the needs, abilities and well-being of older and disabled veterans at the heart of the project. It is informed by the science of gerontology, wayfinding and evidence-based design. Our design team created a community that will help individuals living with diminished physical and neurocognitive abilities not just survive, but thrive. 

David Hunt and Margi Kaminski, who are on the design team, spoke to their process in working with CalVet and coming up with tailored design solutions for this population, such as making it a more home-like environment.

Dave said design ideas like adaptive lighting and circular neighborhood wayfinding have a real impact: "They [veterans] have symptoms of less pain, they eat better,” Hunt says. “So it’s not just to make it homey. It’s also proven to be medically more efficient.”

Yountville Balcony
Yountville Bedroom

The War Horse story details the changing landscape of veteran's care, for veterans "who tend to have greater expectations for longevity and independence than earlier generations, yet also may struggle with more complex medical conditions."

The piece also notes: "In addition to higher rates of post-traumatic stress and other conditions affecting mental health, veterans are more likely to be exposed to risk factors, such as traumatic brain injuries or toxic exposure, for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Veterans also have a higher chance of being diagnosed with certain types of cancer, like lung and skin cancer."

Yountville Walking Path