Retirement At Sea; “The Didn’t We Once Have Fun” Ships

Yesterday – a slow news day until two academics got us thinking ……….to whit, two profs in the Geriatric Medicine field at Chicago’s prestigious Northwestern University.

Doctors Robert Golub and Lee Lindquist wrote an article in the Journal of The American Geriatrics Journal that suggests that a modern cruise ship is well equipped to fill the role of a floating assisted living facility.

Their article was accompanied by some cost estimating that essentially boils down to a monthly cost of cruise ship care in the $3000 per month range. That compares quite favorably with current assisted living costs.

The idea is designed to appeal to Baby Boomers who dread the thought of being institutionalized. For the same approximate price, the doctors theorize, a family could tell a loved one that “instead of placing you in a home or a nursing facility, we are going to place you on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.”

Crews would have to be trained in eldercare, helping guests get around the ship, assisting them in the morning as they get dressed etc. But on-board medical care is not a problem, accessibility to major hospitals in Florida is not a problem, and the non-medical benefits are not insignificant.

“Mr. Wilson we want you to feel better tomorrow so you can go ashore in Aruba” would seem to be better motivation than that currently offered to our seniors in most medical settings on land.

Some have ridiculed the concept. I won’t. Sure it’s out there and I don’t see Carnival or NCL jumping on this anytime soon. And yes, we might have to get rid of the rock climbing walls. But think about the possibility that housekeeping, meal service, staff to patient ratios, and the availability of 24/7 medical care are all potentially better and more affordable aboard ship then they currently are on land.

Perhaps, some day, we can take our slightly worn voyagers, diamonds, and princesses, and find a far better use for them in their old age as we improve the golden years of some of our slightly worn but still regal citizens.