I had a very interesting conversation yesterday with an independent researcher for a company that is looking to enter the Assisted Living Industry. The reasons this was so interesting is that they are really looking outside the Assisted Living Facility (ALF) box. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject. I hope you will comment with yours after reading this.
The senior of tomorrow is NOT anything like the senior of today. As I told this woman, “‘Bingo just isn’t gonna cut it”.
We are intrinsically different from our elders. We lived through the 60s. We think differently, want different things, do different things. We hike, bike, climb, run and surf. We play as hard as we work. We use technology consistently and many require it for quality of life. We research our own medical needs. We look to Eastern and Alternative therapies, in most cases, before considering our own Physician’s opinion. Some believe that Marijuana is a good thing and should be used for medicinal purposes, if not taxed for sale. Some would rather smoke than drink alcohol. We don’t go to cocktail and diner parties, per se, we network and barbecue, tale gate and dine alfresco. Even our idea of church has changed from small and intimate to humongous and lively.
So, the questions are:
- What will Assisted Living of tomorrow look like?
- Will it even be needed?
- Will it be wanted? For some, it might be a necessity.
That being said: I believe that, if affordable, most of us will want to stay at home. Even more so than our predecessors. So, is congregate care what we’d prefer? A Walton’s Mountain type of situation where family all live in compounds, if not large homes, to help care for each other? That’s one thought. Some of the “old” ways are still considered “good” ways. If I could just get my family to move here to the West Coast, where I call home these days, that could work for us. Maybe.
The Beacon Hill Village project is one idea that’s catching on. To quote their website: “a membership organization in the heart of Boston, was founded in 2001 by a group of long-time Beacon Hill residents as an alternative to moving from their houses to retirement or assisted living communities. *** By organizing and delivering programs and services, Beacon Hill Village allows a growing and diverse group of Boston residents to lead safe, healthy, and productive lives in their own homes as they age. *** Members are 50 years or older, single and married, and residents of Beacon Hill, Back Bay, West End, South End, North End, Charlestown, and the Waterfront. *** From groceries to Tai Chi to cultural and social activities to home care, Beacon Hill Village members get what they need to enjoy their lives…and peace of mind.” *** http://www.beaconhillvillage.org/
But is that enough?
One local organization, a non-profit, has re-branded their group to thebegroup.org in hopes of keeping up with the changes we’ll require. Quoting their site: “be yourself. *** Meet someone. Create something. Get fit. Stay relaxed. Learn how. Wonder why. Have an adventure. Make a difference. *** This is what defines be.group and our communities: Simply being yourself. Starting now.”
I like the way both of these organizations think. They are heading in the right direction. What are your thoughts on this subject? What would make the perfect scenario for you?