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.

What is the top challenge facing in-home care in your city, and what is your proposed solution?

Essay response by Alisa Dowling, Western Washington University

One of the top challenges facing in-home care in my city is the lack of attention given to the elderly. Growing up my mother worked as a caregiver for several years and after school I would go to visit her at her job observing what was going on. One of the biggest issues that I have witnessed was that a lot of times when a family decides to place their loved one in a home, they would rarely or never visit. I feel like this is absolutely heart breaking considering this is their family member that they are abandoning. Visiting my mother’s work place I would notice how lonely a lot of the residents were and would make sue to interact with them. I am sure this was not just the case where my mother worked but also rather an issue in nursing homes everywhere. There elderly were placed in care homes and forgotten about and neglected human interaction. With that said there is no blame to be placed on the care givers because they do their best to keep up with their jobs and they don’t have enough time to spend with each individual elderly person. It is up to the community to sacrifice their time in giving back to the elderly.

My solution to resolving the loneliness of the elderly in home care is to get people in the community to be involved in volunteering their time to spend with the elderly. Elderly people in homes are too often left all alone, hoping for a visit from a loved one. Their families are either too busy or just don’t give them their time or attention. By people volunteering their time to spend, even as little as an hour, with the elderly they give them something to look forward to and insure that they are entertained. Volunteering time to the elderly requires minimal effort on the volunteers’ end, they could do as little as watch a show to even playing a board game with them. The great thing about volunteering for the elderly is that anyone can do it; you don’t have to be a young person or someone whom intends on working in the nursing field. The elderly deserve this time to be spent with them because they are the founders of our community, without them there would be no us. The elderly community is typically over looked, forgotten about, and cast as not valuable members of society. Then they are sent to and kept in homes with so much time left doing nothing and watching time go by. Many elderly people would really appreciate a person taking a little bit of time out of their day to spend in their company. Elderly people hold so much valuable life experience and history to share with others.

In conclusion, one of the biggest challenges facing in-home elderly care everywhere is the lack of attention given to them. Elderly people are typically placed in homes and left alone by their families, and there is only so much the workers can do while also doing the other duties that go with their job. A solution that I believe would be effective in ending this problem would be if members of the community offered a fragment of their time to spend in the company of the elderly. This is beneficial for everyone in the situation, that is the elderly persons day is better because of the kindness of a volunteer spending time with them. Also the volunteer is rewarded for their time with the elderly by gaining knowledge on what the elderly has to offer from their life experiences. And lastly, the caregivers have more time to spend doing a great job of caring for the residents.

About Alisa

Alisa is currently attending Western Washington University in order to obtain a degree in Communications and Anthropology.

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