About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
How can the healthcare industry use technology to improve in-home care for American seniors?
Essay response by Alexis Outlaw, Valdosta State University
As we grow into adults we know that our parents are going to get old, and are going to need help with everyday things. Eighty-six percent of seniors are in nursing homes. Thirty percent of senior have in home caregivers or nurses. Then, there is the percentage of seniors who don’t want any help, like my grandmother who chooses to live by herself. My mother is always visiting and checking on my grandmother to make sure she’s okay. But what if there was a way for my mom to stay in Georgia, not worried, and my grandmother to still be on her own and safe? Well with the modern technology we have today it can, and will happen.
In progress now there are a lot of scientists testing and experimenting with robots, mind controlled prosthetics that attach to our bodies, and robots that assist us with everyday task. As of today there are six robots that are developed, but they all do different task. For example, DAPRA’s mind controlled prosthetic, this robot can be attached to the legs or arms. This machine reads brain signals that are then transmitted to the prosthetic to do a task. Another robot from Japan, which is widely used for their elderly, is the RIBA II care-giving robot. What makes this robot special is its strong torso which is used to lift seniors out of wheelchairs and into bed. With today’s technology there is no end to what can be created and made to help and assist our elderly population.
Along with robots there are simple voice activated machines that can help the elderly. In society today we have so many voice activated devices; we can easily turn these devices around to help seniors. One idea is to use voice activation to turn lights on and off, turn electronic devices around the house on or off, and open and close doors. Not only will this help seniors move around, but also those who cannot see and hear well. Voice activation and robots are a great start for seniors beginning to take care of themselves. Doing daily task like: bathing, eating, and walking the dog will be much easier and enjoyable for them.
Our grandparents and great grandparents have gone through a lot in life, and been independent through the majority of life. We, as the younger generation taking care of them, should want to make life as easy as possible for them. We know that our older loved ones are not going to be around forever, but while they are here daily tasks that they are not able to do anymore should be done for them. I previously stated that there are seniors like my grandmother who are independent and like it that way, and that is okay. Sometimes seniors don’t need full care, but would like some assistance here and there. I think it should be up to the senior and his or her family to decide what is best, but it is up to the health care industry to give them that choice of what is best. Investing and actually incorporating these robots and voice activations into everyday life will benefit not only the senior, but the child or grandchild that looks after the senior. Time waits for no man, so research, invest, and incorporate our modern technology into the health care system.
Alexis is a first year International Business major at Valdosta State University.