Who could have predicted this? We’re running into a very odd situation when it comes to what people want in facility care (and other housing for elders). With people living longer, we now have what amounts to two generations of elders, with very different ideas of what they want for their money – and their care.
Traditionally, elder care facilities are geared for those who have dementia or severe physical conditions that need skilled care. Now, with assisted living becoming a part of the mix in many larger nursing facilities, thus providing a place to graduate, if you will, from one type of care to another, we are running into generational loggerheads.
“Young elders” who need some assistance, but not 24-hour nursing care, may choose a place with independent living, which can be increased gradually to assisted living, with an eventual move to the nursing home atmosphere possible.
This is a great plan. The problem? “Young elders,” boomers and those slightly older, who want a gym, coffee bar, and even early rock music, are intruding on the territory of “traditional elders” who want perked coffee, bingo or crafts and Lawrence Welk. This may sound funny. Actually, it is – kind of. But it’s a real problem that must be addressed.
Someone in his or her sixties may have severe arthritis, be recovering from a stroke or have mid-stage MS. This does not make the person 85. He or she may need care, but also want entertainment and challenges suited to their generation.
Meanwhile, we are caring for elders in their nineties. These people need and deserve the entertainment and challenges that suit them. However, it can get mighty annoying to hear Elvis rockin’ from the CD player when you really want Guy Lombardo! What to do?
This is just one more challenge for the booming elder care business. Business minds are going to pay attention and provide what boomers expect, while still providing the traditional model. They must. It’s what the market demands. The onslaught of aging boomers will make changes in everything as they go. Assisted living and nursing facilities are just one more place “young elders” will make their mark.
Published On: March 26, 2007