For years women visited the beauty salon weekly for a wash and a set. This ritual involved not only beautification but a head massage and socialization with other women that become friends. They told stories of their lives, what their children and grandchildren were doing. They expressed grief and hardships, shared photos and weaved their lives together every Friday for two hours or so. There have been movies made about this special experience that my generation will never know.
Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are in the transition phase. Some still practice the weekly beauty salon ritual and others do the every 5-6 weeks cut and color.
The impact of this transition in senior living is that we need to move from primarily all-female beauty salons to a Salon and Spa setup. Additional services need to be offered such as manicure, pedicure and massage. The design of the space should feel more like a contemporary spa where a male or boomer would feel comfortable vs a traditional “floral print” beauty salon.
Weekly beauty salon visits are positive experiences that raise self-esteem, provide head massages and generate social interaction. These are worth more to a senior female (of which approximately 75% of assisted living consists of) than anyone can measure. If we do not transition the salon to the spa properly we could lose vital social interactions and self-esteem building. It is our job as designers, owners and operators to recognize this need for change and implement the necessary installations before it is too late.