Geriatric massage practitioners take note: Assisted living facilities are gaining in popularity as the baby-boomer generation continues to age.

“The American public has expressed a strong distaste for going to a nursing home because it smacks of a hospital-like, institutional way of living and receiving care,” said Stephen Golant, a University of Florida professor, expert on elderly housing and editor of a new book on the subject. “Assisted living has emerged as a highly attractive option for older persons who have experienced some physical or cognitive decline and feel less secure about receiving care in their own home.”

Yet there are few certainties about either the future of assisted living for the elderly or the huge number of baby boomers who stand to be its recipients, Golant said in a university press release.

“Although baby boomers will constitute a large market, it is unclear what share will have impairments and chronic health problems that make them candidates for assisted living,” he said. “The emergence of an unexpected new medical or rehabilitation breakthrough, such as a cure or the discovery of a disease-controlling drug for Alzheimer’s disease – could result in a substantial decline in the number of elderly Americans who need such care.”

Businesses and social service agencies are preparing for the surge of aging baby boomers, an estimated seven out of 10 of whom are expected to require long-term care at some point after they reach the age of 65, Golant said. Many will also face the issue of a parent needing long-term care before reaching that stage themselves, he said.

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