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Response to Baby Boomers and Long-Term Care Blog

June 11, 2009
by Lisa Cini
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In reaction to the comments regarding my recent blog (click here to view), I have outlined the key points that were presented and the responses to those points, following with my own response.

Key Points

· Baby Boomers are the next wave of residents that will hit long-term care.

· They are imbedded with technology, which they use to research, compare, and communicate.

· They will not settle for the types of facilities and services that were provided to their parents.

· They will require access/engagement with their community.

· Design of facilities should represent spa/resort amenities/aesthetics.

Reader Points

· This is already happening for the WWII generation because Baby Boomers are demanding these services for their parents.

· Every community ‘we’ design has these services.

· Old news!

· Boomers won’t be able to afford to live in what they desire.

My Response

I applaud all of the designers that are currently addressing the needs of the current WWII generation and the Baby Boomers. However, we are still seeing many projects where this has not been done and the facility owners have not started to address the changes that will happen in any shape or form. It is our obligation as design professionals to assist them in this transition to whatever level they are comfortable. In regards to being able to afford these homes, once you figure in current rent, food, utilities, cable, meals, etc., the numbers are not that far off. We have seen an increase in children pulling the additional funds for mom and or dad to accommodate the shortage.

Topics

Comments

I, too, read your posting and wondered about the comments. Long-term care facilities are not as far advanced as some designers or industry people may think. Some of them still have the design made popular in the 70s and 80s. Also it is not just baby boomers who want to have their own rooms and bathrooms. My own mother was in a nursing home for a very short period of time almost thirty years ago. We got her a private room because she would not have been comfortable in a room with someone else.

She did grow up in the depression and was used to multiple children sleeping in the same bed... let alone in the same room. But she improved her life and moved on from that and did not want to return.

Years ago here I remember some older staff mentioning that they felt that residents who were required to sleep on low beds might feel that they were sleeping on the cold floor. We all know that some of them probably had to do that when they were children. Every time I see a low bed now I remember that comment and I imagine it has to be colder sleeping closer to the floor.

I have a friend who has a mother who is 81. I have been encouraging her to help her mother and stepfather to make the decision to move to a long-term care facility. Her mother, a former nurse, does not want to. There are probably many reasons for this but I am sure that privacy is the primary one.

I am not sure that there will ever be a way to give people what they want in long-term care. I know that some baby boomers whose parents need long-term care do not want their parents to give up their life savings for assisted-living care. I can understand the dilemma but when older people are willing to make their life more secure, I can't understand why their children would discourage them. I guess the primary reason could be denial or selfishness.

Another thing to bear in mind is that when the younger baby boomers get to nursing homes their children may not be willing to assist them with the extra costs necessary to keep them in a care facility that they prefer. That will mean that long-term care will have to be redesigned again in twenty years or so.

Lisa Cini

President and CEO

www.mosaicdesignstudio.com

Cini is president and CEO of Mosaic...