ASID: Baby Boomers and Long—Term Care
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.