Yesterday, I walked into the well-appointed lobby of the assisted living where my friend is staying. Locked in an era long gone by, a dozen folks were gathered around the grand piano while someone played "Has Anybody Seen My Gal." Some were singing along. Most of the ladies were wearing some version of a pantsuit or elastic waist pants with a decorated t-shirt. The men favored track suits -- their current track being a walker-walk from the elevator to the dining room.
In my mind, I flashed forward thirty or so years to when my peers and I would enjoy a similar living situation. Certainly the musician in our Starbucks and Burning Man-themed lobby would be playing "oldies" such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and "Head Like a Hole." What would we be wearing? Denim overalls and concert t-shirts? A flannel and orthopedic combat boots? (Great idea, I know. That's my gift to you Doc Martens.)
Would we bring our own era with us, or is there a set expectation of what elderly looks like? Certainly the assisted living of 2045 will have tenants with tattoos, full sleeve tribal ink sticking out of their dressing gowns. Instead of rolling into the beauty parlor for a blue rinse and a wash and set, will there be a dread specialist at our salon? Will we still be getting blow outs when our hair is white?
What innovations will there be? Maybe we will be riding on Rascals fueled by jet packs. Perhaps our nurses will be pleasant and attentive robots, our vitals checked via arm implanted computer screens. I foresee a future of Saturday nights, sitting in dark rooms watching movies like The Breakfast Club and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, sipping our mocaccino-flavored Ensures.
I'm five short years away from the prime-time to buy into extended care insurance. I'm not planning on making the move anytime soon, but when I do I'll expect to crowd surf my way into the building.