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Long-term care fraught with uncertainties for elderly baby boomers
Date:7/9/2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. The continued decline of the nursing home once the mainstay care for the frail elderly and an upsurge in popularity of assisted living will lead to many dramatic changes in long-term care, according to a University of Florida expert and editor of a new book on the subject.

"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 UF geography professor and expert on elderly housing. "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.

"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."

Golant and Joan Hyde, an assisted living provider and a senior fellow at the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, are editors of the new book "The Assisted Living Residence: A Vision for the Future," published this month by The Johns Hopkins University, which examines elderly housing and possible care trends over the next 20 to 30 years.

The biggest competitors to assisted living are daughters and daughters-in-law who provide most elderly caregiving and determine whether their loved ones can remain in their own homes, Golant said. But the availability and attitudes
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Contact: Stephen Golant
golant@geog.ufl.edu
352-392-0494
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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