09.09.14 • Sarah Kerby • Healthcare
When you think “trendy,” senior care might not be the first thing you think of. Yet, Tom Montgomery, vice president and Senior Care studio lead, will tell you that old age today is not what it used to be.
As the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) closes in on retirement, the U.S. will experience the largest elderly population it has ever seen. Currently, one in four Americans belong to this demographic, and as is often the case with Boomers, they are expected to make a significant impact on society, specifically here in terms of long-term care and living.
As a specialist in designing environments for seniors, what does Montgomery think this generation will demand of their retirement living? “Technology, without question, will be required,” he says. “Baby Boomers are technologically savvy. They’ve worked and lived with laptops, iPads and smartphones. They want to stay in touch with their families and communities.”
Since the upcoming generation of retirees isn’t likely to part with its technology, new long-term residence designs must incorporate it. Among other technologies, Montgomery advocates incorporating interactive telecommunications centers, which would allow homebound residents virtual participation in weddings or other events involving family and friends.
He also foresees a day when residents are free of the stigma that results when they require an increased level of care. “My idea of the ideal environment is when you can’t tell the difference between assisted living and skilled care,” says Montgomery. Current regulatory requirements pose one of the obstacles to achieving this goal, but “part of it is just being the first to try it,” he adds. “The challenge with Boomers will be to create an environment that is so appealing they don’t mind being there.”
Tom and his studio appear to be poised to do just that.
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