No Nursing Homes for Baby Boomers!

retirement communityMany families choose to stay in their home if one spouse needs long term care. But some can no longer stay there due to their needs or just the difficulties of moving about in the house. As 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age every day, most who need care will not plan to enter a assisted living residence and will never step foot into a traditional nursing home. Increasing numbers will seek out new alternatives for independent living where care can be provided.

Intentional communities for philosophical, religious, and lifestyle groups are emerging. Wikepedia describes an intentional community as “ a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle. They typically share responsibilities and resources.”

Alex Mawhinney (jamlll@charter.net) , a developer of retirement communities  for over 25 years, reports that “intentional elder neighborhoods are becoming the new paradigm for elder living.” He states that boomers will no longer be interested in “the older generation of elder living options that were available to our parents that follows this model:.

  • Age in place — in a home not designed for aging in place, and eventually aging alone
  • Move in with children or other relatives
  • Move to an institution — and pay dearly for care delivered by strangers, under their rules and according to their schedules. The institution might be a nursing home, an assisted living facility, a rest home, a retirement hotel, or a continuing care retirement community with multiple levels of care.

These elder neighborhoods are taking many different forms. It would behoove you to determine if any of them have been created in your community.

There are SOTELs (service-oriented technically enhanced living—like an upscale Embassy Suites); ecovillages; senior cohousing; and the new lifestyle communities like those being developed by Canyon Ranch.

The common traits of these new alternatives are that they are:

  • Human scaled ( not large and impersonal)
  • Relationship based
  • resident managed/centered, with an overlay of lifelong learning, later-life spirituality
  • giving back to the community
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