From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Recent Conference Explored Home Health Care Needs of Baby Boomers

Professionals from diverse fields gathered recently in Washington DC at the first annual LivingRooms conference, which explored the practical aspects of an anticipated surge in demand for home health care as baby boomers grow older.


The conference brought together a diverse group that included human factors professionals, industrial designers, home healthcare providers and occupational and physical therapists to collaborate on how to design home-based health care products and systems that meet the needs of the baby boomers.

The term refers to people born between 1946 and 1964 in a country that experienced an unusual spike in birth rates following World War II. The United States is one of many countries worried about the impact of the surge of aging people on the country’s health care system.

The US National Center for Health Statistics released figures in December 2005 that show life expectancy in the United States has hit an all-time high — 77.6 years — and deaths from heart disease, cancer and stroke continue to drop. The figures also show that half of Americans in the 55-to-64 age group — including the oldest of the baby boomers — have high blood pressure, and two in five are obese, figures that portend a great strain on Medicare and Social Security and on existing medical facilities The conference was based on the premise that the home will become a vital health care venue over the next 15-20 years.

The conference was co-chaired by Barry H. Beith, a former president of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), and Ron B Kemnitzer, a former president of the Industrial Designers Society of America. In a news release about the conference, Dr. Beith reported being pleased with it because he has “always promoted the technical strength and positive business impact of combining the research and design professions of human factors and industrial design to yield better, stronger and safer product design.”

The ergonomist said plans are already being made for the next LivingRoom conference.  

Sources: HFES; US National Center for Health Statistics; Carolina Newswire