Can you imagine a day when no one will live in a healthcare facility, when all older or disabled individuals live at home, even people with Alzheimer's Disease? Can you see a time when long-term inpatient care facilities are obsolete, when no one [italics provided] is moved from independent to assisted to skilled care?”
So reads the blurb for a presentation by nationally known long-term care designer Cynthia Leibrock at Vendome Group's Environments for Aging conference next month in Tucson, Arizona. That conference title might resonate with you, particularly if you've paid close attention to the contents of this issue and the last. It's the title of a new department in the magazine heralding an important new editorial direction and, indeed, a name change for the entire publication, soon to be known as Long-Term Living. The ubiquitous use of “Environments for Aging” is not coincidental—it marks our company-wide commitment to exploring this evolving marketplace.
But let's get back for a moment to Cynthia's questions. Can you imagine a long-term care facility-free marketplace? I eagerly await hearing Cynthia's observations about this, but for my part, I think she might be overstating a bit. Skilled nursing and assisted living facilities will be with us for quite a while longer, filling a vital niche for those individuals who can simply no longer manage at home because of their monitoring and support needs. Moreover, I suspect that both types of facility (yes, including assisted) will be moving in ever more clinically intense directions and will in fact need to become expert in one facet or another of clinical care.
But none of this gainsays the direction that Cynthia and, for that matter, we are pointing in. There is steadily growing momentum toward keeping people at home and as independent and engaged with life as possible. One major thrust of that drive will be the urban revitalization concepts discussed in two of our articles in this month's Environments for Aging section: “People Today Are Looking for Community…,” featuring the thoughts of long-time gerontological consultant Maria Dwight, and “Visioning Urban Revitalization,” the story of the Milwaukee architectural firm AG Architecture's participation in a recent weekend competition to design revitalization projects for specific neighborhoods in that city. (This was under the auspices of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and, I'm proud to say, our long-time SAGE jury member and author Gerald D. Weisman, PhD.)
As we continue to explore these new—in some cases, brand-new marketplace developments, we'll be probing for specific opportunities that might become available for today's long-term care providers. Needless to say, there are any number of partnerships, alliances, or new service lines that are possible. But it will be pretty difficult to know specifically which way to move without some knowledge of and feeling for the new developments.
We pledge to provide that guidance to the best of our ability, exploring the implications of Cynthia Leibrock's questions and their meaning to our readers.
RICHARD L. PECK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
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