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 your major of study improve the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services?
Essay response by Alexa Friesen, Bethel University
The Notebook is an American romantic drama, released in the year 2004, that has smitten the hearts of many teenage girls. While the majority of these young girls probably watch the movie for the sake of seeing Ryan Gosling, I believe it would be safe to say that there is so much more to the story than him and Rachel McAdams as young lovers. Throughout the movie, there is an elderly couple in a care facility, which is to portray characters Noah and Allie. Noah lives in a care facility with his wife Allie who suffers from dementia and cannot remember her husband. Noah reads to his Allie on a daily basis, retelling their own love story in hopes that every once and awhile, even for the shortest time, her memory will come back to her. This is only a snippet of the movie, that isn’t based on a true story for that matter, but I do believe that writing and storytelling do have power; I believe that journalism has the power to change the world.
There are several major issues that I would like to address in this essay. The first issue is the lack of advertising and communication to the public. As a journalist, I believe it is our job to inform the public truthfully and allow people to make educated decisions. Citizens are not aware of what options are as they are trying to make decisions for future care for family members or even their own selves. Speaking for myself, I don’t hear very frequently the options of in-home care and it’s almost a concept that I feel has been left on people to figure out for themselves. If journalists were able to make information about in-home care more accessible, I think journalists, care facilities, and citizens would all benefit and become more successful.
The second issue that typically happens is the lack of communication between the elderly, the care provider, and the family. This is a barrier that needs to be broken so that people can be cared for properly. For example, my grandparents’ neighbor has confided to them about things that she doesn’t want to tell her kids for fear of burdening them. If there was someone to help facilitate conversation and communicate, this neighbor would benefit so much more in her remaining years here on earth. While it can be tiresome for people to know what is happening and to make decisions, children want to make the best decision for their parents and this can only be done if there is truthful communication and they know the issues that are happening.
The third issue happens after there is in-home care. As people get older and it gets harder to do the little things, even leaving the house, it becomes harder to then connect to the outside world. This is where journalists come into play as well. We are the voice to voiceless and we allow information to be spread and told. We provide connection to people throughout the world and it is important that we continue to write and tell the stories that need to be told.
Alexa Friesen is a junior Journalism major at Bethel University.