I recently attended a business conference where I showed off a new long-term care main street project. It was received with dropped jaws. Not only because of the design, but also because the audience had never considered that long-term care could be a great environment that they would like to live in.
Since I am in the industry and have been for almost two decades, I assume that others know what great work designers are doing in long-term care. I was shocked to see these educated, worldly men and women, or "Baby Boomers," had such little knowledge of what environments were available that they or their parents might need. They seemed to still have the "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" concept of long-term care. So much design marketing is centered on the great hospitality environments or spaces that are “green.” It’s even difficult to recruit younger designers to the long-term care design field due to the lack of quality marketing of the spaces and the poor education of the difference between healthcare and long-term care. I believe we need a national campaign featuring long-term care designs of today and tomorrow marketed in more than AARP. We could start with Martha Stewart Living, HGTV, Web MD, and USA Today. The project that I highlighted at the business conference was featured on CNN, but the press was short lived.
Until we educate the market on the similarities in long-term care design to favorite restaurants and hotels, we will miss out on being able to take long-term care environments to the next level and raise the design bar.