STATEMENT OF ISSUE The healthcare system in the U.S. has emphasized curing disease through funding for research in and practice of remedial medical care during the last century. However, with the beginning of the 21st century a greater emphasis was put on the importance of preventive medicine and the concept of the wellness center as part of the healthcare system. Members of these kinds of facilities are mostly from the baby boom generation (those who were born in 1946-1964). This study will be concerning the extent to which existing wellness centers are responding to the needs and life style preferences of baby boomers, particularly women, so they can enjoy a healthy life and general well being for a longer period of time.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE Rising expenditures on healthcare are a major concern in the healthcare system in the U.S. and Preventive medicine and healthy life styles are recognized as key factors in lowering the costs of healthcare. This is of a special interest now as the older baby boomers are entering their sixties and will soon put greater pressure on the healthcare system from both economic and logistical perspective. In addition, this population group is expected to retire later than their predecessors. Their desire for independence and active living can be addressed through the emergence of an integrated system of preventive medicine and medical care. The wellness center, as part of the local health system, is a key component of such a strategy. Finally, special design features that respond to the changing physical and perceptual abilities of an aging population need to be addressed in the planning and design of wellness centers, in order to insure that the elders will be able to take advantage of their resources.
Thesis Committee: Gary Scott Danford & Edward Steinfeld