Call it the Silver Tsunami or the graying of America, our population is aging. With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, the need for senior living is growing at a drastic rate. Faced with evolving consumer expectations and a cohort large enough to demand change, the aging services field has been hard at work preparing for this new customer by building new communities, rolling out hospitality programs, and adding amenities such as bistros, beer taps, pools, and fitness centers. Despite these changes, the vast majority of boomers plan to avoid senior living settings and instead stay put in their homes.
Unfortunately, the cosmetic changes of new building and amenities don’t address the fears of aging, loss of independence, or the core culture of senior living, where paternalism and ageism still exist. In fact, these new approaches may exacerbate our challenges. The hospitality model doesn’t teach us how to create community and customer service can actually undermine purpose and independence. To truly transform senior living, we must dig deeper and change the fundamental basics of the way we think about aging and the role of aging services in our society.
Melding aging research, ideas from some of the most influential thinkers in the aging services field, and the author’s own experiences transforming senior living cultures, this book challenges readers to examine their own biases, question long-held practices, and work toward creating vibrant cultures of possibility and growth.