Establish policies around sexual interactions, have your psychiatrists ready to evaluate for capacity to consent, be prepared to discuss new relationships with family members—and get your multi-purpose room ready, because baby boomers are more likely than our current group of residents to expect to exercise their sexual freedom. Rehab referrals for this activity of daily living and requests for erectile dysfunction medication will become more common. Staff training will help your team handle residents’ sexual concerns in a helpful and professional manner.
8. Fashion and décor
Floral back snap dresses with petal collars and sweatshirts with cute puppy prints will need to make way for more fashion-forward clothing designs that enhance the esteem of residents. And expect conservative room décor to be “tweaked” by younger residents. To make everyone happy, create a way for these adjustments to occur without destroying property, such as a system for easily changing artwork without putting holes in the walls. For example, consider adding molding close to the ceiling so that pictures can be hung with hooks or wires and no commitment. Or offer a variety of coordinated privacy curtains.
|"Who are these people, and why do they seem so demanding?"|
9. Scheduling daily priorities
Personal choice is important to boomer residents, making them more likely to demand flexible scheduling options than our current population. Imagine how empowered and cooperative residents would be if they had the opportunity to outline their schedules. “I’d like my wake-up call at 7 a.m., my breakfast between 7:30 and 8 a.m., and my rehab at 9 a.m.” If we can work the nursing home schedule around the needs of the residents, rather than the residents around the needs of the nursing home, long-term care will become more livable.
10. Emotional support
Ageism among a group of residents that grew up with the rock and roll anthem lyric, “I hope I die before I get old,” is likely to lead to challenges in self-concept for this generation. Support services, whether through individual psychotherapy or groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or other illness-related organizations, will be expected by baby boomers, who are more aware of the mind-body connection and more comfortable sharing their concerns than our current residents.
Eleanor Feldman Barbera, PhD, is an author, speaker and consultant on psychological issues in long-term care. For more information, visit Dr. Barbera's website, www.mybetternursinghome.com.