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 Asia Tynes, Georgia Southern University
Life is full of uncertainty, but one thing that is inevitable is the process of aging will occur. Our senior population is living longer and with that comes the desire to have a better quality of life and level of independence within their community and home environment. My major of study, physical therapy, has a tremendous impact on changing and improving the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services. My mom has been an Occupational Therapist for 24 years and has been in the geriatric home health field for the last 15 years. So I have had the pleasure of seeing and hearing how relevant and important in-home care services are for the geriatric population.
For seniors recovering from injury or illness, Physical Therapy helps with pain relief and restoring physical function such as flexibility, gait, coordination and balance which can all have a profound effect on decreasing the risk of falling. Although falls can happen anywhere, it is documented that well over half of all falls occur within the home environment. Decreased stability, changes in posture, getting in and out of the bathroom, going up and down stairs, having rugs on the floor that are not secure, etc. All of these situations and much more produce a scenario for falling. The addition of Physical Therapy during in-home care services can be a large asset in prolonging an older person’s ability to remain home as well as addressing fall prevention. What better place to see exactly what the person is having difficulty with since their injury or illness, than where they live. Every single task that is completed on a daily basis can be fine-tuned to improve how it is completed, what can make it easier, or even to assess if it is something that is no longer safe for the person to do. Doing and seeing is believing and it can bring realism to the person and their family. Convenience is another benefit of seniors that receive in home physical therapy. It can be difficult for seniors with physical conditions to travel to and from a therapist office to receive care. So by adding physical therapy to the health care team of nurses, social workers and physicians, helps to improve the overall health as well as any traveling challenges that the senior person may have.
I believe that a person’s mind has a huge effect on their ability to heal. It is no question that a benefit in receiving in home care is that it gives the individual a feeling of security, familiarity; amidst love ones in their real natural environment. My grand-mother was in the hospital dying of cancer and her one request was to just be at home with family and leave the earth that way. Being at home, in her own bed, amidst the 8 children that she raised in that exact home, I could sense the security, and love and gratitude. She may not have received therapy services but that is just another way of showing that in-home care services do improve lives on every level.
It is so evident and true that seniors that receive in-home care services with the addition of Physical Therapy have great potential to improve their quality of living, their independence, their faith and hope, and just the heartfelt notion that someone cares enough for them to help make a difference.
Asia is a freshman at Georgia Southern University, pursuing a degree in Exercise Science. Her ultimate goal is to earn a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.