ActivCare at Bressi Ranch, a Carlsbad memory care community for seniors with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, has recently been named project of the year by the 55+ Housing Council of the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

The housing development with 80 accommodations for those 55 years and older received the distinction for its innovative design that meets the needs of residents. The open floor plan provides freedom of movement for residents while providing memory-impaired residents prompts such as colorful murals and a Living Wall to find their way. All paths lead back to the Great Rooms where residents gather for daily meals, exercise classes, musical performances and hands-on activities, reducing confusion and agitation.

Annie Gerard, one of the 55+ Housing Council’s judges, said the project of the year award is part of the 18th annual SAGE Awards that also honor the contributions of programs, individuals and planned projects to senior housing in Southern California. Evaluated projects include affordable and market rate senior apartments, independent and assisted living facilities, and age restricted condominiums.

ActiveCare at Bressi Ranch was unanimously chosen for the award this year, Gerard said, because of several innovative and noteworthy elements than can serve as a model for other 55-plus housing developments. Among them are the way-finding features designed with warmth and beauty, and indoor-outdoor elements such as oversized windows and decorative plants. Next-generation components also include four residential neighborhoods that each serve a different level of care.

“This is state-of-the-art,” she said. “We’ll see more of these kinds of top-notch memory care facilities over the years. This is one that was done with everything right.”

Opened in November 2011, ActiveCare at Bressi Ranch is one of several ActivCare Living communities. Other locations are in Long Beach and Birmingham, Ala. An Alzheimer’s care facility under way in Chula Vista is scheduled to open in summer 2013.

“We are honored to receive such recognition among our peers,” said W. Major Chance, ActivCare founder and CEO, in a statement. “ActivCare at Bressi Ranch incorporates the best ideas from our company’s 25 years of designing, building and operating residential communities for seniors with Alzheimer’s or related dementias. We believe that it is truly the next generation of memory care communities.”

— Julie Gallant