If you are planning to set up a senior living facility, you should speak with your architect about his or her hands-on knowledge on such facilities. Only when one who has dealt with a senior or care-need person, one would otherwise not become empathetic with the real needs.
Understanding the needs of the residents and users through the many years, some maybe up to 20 years of living in the same facility will provide the knowledge needed to build a first class facility.
So the question is not whether the architect should be the first designer of the project. The first person can be anyone with the necessary experience. It can be the care-givers, the operator, the resident, the architect or the owner. But never one who plans to design Form over Function.
Real knowledge is key.
A toilet ten steps too far away, a grab bar one cm too thick, isolated car parking spaces, the list goes on.
(writing in progress)