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Adult Day to Grow Exponentially in Light of the “Fourth Turning”

The concept of the “Fourth Turning” comes from the 1997 book written by William Strauss and Neil Howe. The authors propose a cyclical theory of history, wherein every 80 to 100 years, American society undergoes a series of “turnings” – epochs characterized by specific moods, behaviors, and collective responses to crises.

According to the theory, we are currently in the midst of a Fourth Turning, a period of upheaval and transformative change. One of the most significant impacts of this current turning is the anticipated exponential growth of adult day services. Here’s why:

1. Aging Population:

One of the fundamental demographics of the modern world is the rapidly aging population, especially in Western countries. As the baby boomer generation enters its golden years, the demand for services that cater to their needs is rising.

Adult day services, which provide daytime care for elderly individuals who might otherwise require more intensive nursing home care, stand to benefit greatly.

2. Economic Constraints:

The Fourth Turning is characterized by economic challenges, be it through recessions, resource shortages, or the restructuring of industries. For many families, full-time assisted living, nursing facilities and in-home care might be financially out of reach.

Adult day services offer a more economical alternative that allows seniors to receive care during the day while returning to their homes in the evening.

3. Social Cohesion and Collective Identity:

A hallmark of the Fourth Turning is a renewed emphasis on community, collective identity, and intergenerational relationships. Adult day services not only provide care but often emphasize social interaction, community involvement, and intergenerational activities.

This aligns with the societal mood of a Fourth Turning, making these services even more appealing.

4. Healthcare Evolution:

With the challenges posed by an aging population and economic pressures, healthcare systems are seeking more efficient and patient-centric models of care.

Adult day services fit the bill by offering holistic care that goes beyond just health needs, encompassing social, emotional, and even cognitive dimensions.

5. A Shift from Institutional Care:

The modern mindset, influenced by the values and moods of the Fourth Turning, is veering away from institutionalized care.

There’s a growing desire for solutions that respect individuality, maintain personal dignity, and enable seniors to have a semblance of normalcy.

Adult day services, with their flexible models, cater to this need, allowing seniors to remain connected to their communities and families.

6. Technological Integration:

The age of technology doesn’t bypass any sector, and adult day services stand to gain from innovations in healthcare tech.

From telemedicine to health monitoring wearables, the integration of technology into these services makes them more efficient and appealing in a Fourth Turning society that’s increasingly tech-savvy.

Ultimately, the mood, values, and circumstances that characterize the Fourth Turning create a fertile ground for the growth of adult day services.

As society grapples with the challenges and opportunities of this epoch, services that align with its core sentiments – such as community, efficiency, and patient-centricity – will undoubtedly flourish.

Adult day services, with their unique blend of care, community, and flexibility, are poised for exponential growth in this era.


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