According to a recent report on MSNBC, in 2021 fifty percent of department stores in malls will close. And a July report in The New York Times said in the next 5 years twenty-five percent of all malls in this country will close.
In talking to some folks in retail and the mall real estate business, I learned that COVID-19 is partly to blame, as is Amazon and other on-line services. And, society has changed. People just don’t go to the mall like they used to, including teenagers!
I have an idea. But first, here are some more statistics. In a recent survey, over 50% of Primary Care doctors were concerned that their profession is not prepared for the onslaught of dementia patients. 5 million Americans currently are diagnosed with some sort of dementia. Someone is diagnosed with dementia every 66 seconds. Facilities with memory care units cost between 7-10 thousand dollars per month.
Here’s my idea: re-purpose the malls into long-term care facilities with emphasis on memory care units. Make then affordable for Medicaid patients. Design them humanely. Staff them with people who have been trained in dementia and gerontology. I’m thinking high school career and technical education, and further studies at community colleges.
And after we put mall property to good use, let’s concentrate on re-opening state mental hospitals, with the same purpose in mind.
I really think this could work and I would love to hear from you about how we can make it happen.
WIth love and hope, Jane