Seventy million baby boomers are moving past or toward the age of 65 years. Another 65 million Gen Xers are following them. A pandemic showed in unflattering detail the many things wrong with institutional long-term care. Generations are used to getting their own way, consumers to the core, and many have large amounts of wealth. Generations live longer by taking better care of themselves, benefiting from the triumphs of modern medicine and retiring earlier.
Long-term care in the United States is on the verge of profound change. The marketplace will demand it. More people than ever want to age in place. They want to stay in their homes longer, and if they cannot do that, they want to live independently in adult living communities or assisted living facilities near their children. As a result, increasing numbers of older individuals end up living alone. But the current long-term care system is ill-suited to meeting what this marketplace wants. If the major innovations are going to comprise building a few more adult housing units, sprucing up traditional nursing homes and trying to increase the number of home health aides, they will not be enough to satisfy this evolving level of demand.