ASID: Baby Boomers and Long—Term Care

April 22, 2009
2 Comments

In order to understand how to design for the boomer generation we must first understand the generational difference between the people currently in long-term living situations and those that will be there soon. Yet generational differences are not the only issue in the mixed-age environment. We also need to consider the level of care needed and short or long-term care needs.

To put this into perspective just answer the following question: How many TV's do you have in your home? One, two, three, four, five … maybe more? Currently, there is one TV for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

This was not the case with the WWII Generation, but it does hold true for Baby Boomers. Author Michael Bugeja has stated that using gizmos, including watching TV, is the second biggest time consumer in our lives, with number one being breathing.

Currently, our LTC homes have technology for the caregivers to do their jobs but we have yet to open these technologies to the residents. Baby Boomer resident will want to stay connected—like having TiVo and Wi-Fi wherever they decide to hangout that day. Baby Boomers will also be more apt to wanting to maintain their cell phone vs. a land line.

Baby Boomer residents will also be adamant about having independence and maintaining their health through wellness programs that include fitness, surgery, and vitamins. This means designing environments with outdoor walking/biking paths, cafes with vitamin tonics and smoothies, and full blow fitness centers with spaces for yoga.

On a final note, the Baby Boomers are much more demanding than their parents. They have a higher level of education and demand a higher level of service and design. This is a generation who does their homework and demands a spa/country club design. We need to consider that services should be available when needed, but that they should not be seen as the focal point of the design, like the nurses’ station currently is.

Comments

I agree with the previous comment, old news. Besides, I'm a "boomer" and I can't afford to live in what I have designed for the current crop of retirees and don't intend to "retire" anyway. Translate the last paragraph to mean we've converted to an entitlement mentality without the financial means to pay for them. Obama's/Bush's last few expenditures have not addressed SS-Medicare-Medicaid but accelerated their demise so "boomers" need to get over feeling entitled to anything and figure out how they will pay for future housing and services. Bon Appetite!

FYI: This is already occuring in many parts of the country for the WWII generation etc. The Baby Boomers currently demand these items for their parents. Every community we design offers a majority of these options and many more. This is old news!