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 Kylie Wiltman
There will always be those people who are opposed to technology, and those who use it all the time, but in the end technology can really make a change for in-home care. American seniors want to maintain their independence just as many younger adults want to too. Advanced technology is allowing health care workers to take this to the next level. Why not reduce costs of health care and potentially save lives? The comfort of one’s home and their independence may be of top priority and makes a huge impact in the well-being of some individuals.
No matter where individuals travel or what they are doing, nowadays it seems like technology in America surrounds everyone and is the basis of their daily lives. Health care providers can now communicate face-to-face and educate people through a computer. There are even sensors available that can track those important vital signs without the individual even having to step foot in a hospital or clinic. If this doesn’t promote comfort to an individual, I don’t know what else could.
Even as an individual going into the healthcare field, the idea of visiting a doctor still gets to me sometimes because everyone wants to be of optimal health. I know the progression of technology has always been extremely important to me because since I was young I have always said I want my parents and grandparents to live as independent and as comfortable as possible their whole lives. I do not want them in a nursing home or assisted living. Yes, many provide phenomenal care, but it is never the same as the care of home. Nothing beats the comfort of your own home.
Technology is now allowing the ability to track things from medicine to wandering, inactivity all the way to falls and more. It allows American seniors to live in-home more confidently. The assurance is there if something were to happen that they are being monitored, and help can quickly arrive. Safety is of extreme importance not only to seniors, but also to their families. They want to know that their parents are taking their medicine when they are supposed to and are not having any serious concerns. Most importantly they want to make sure they are protected and haven’t fallen or been injured. Technology is allowing that peace of mind to so many people.
Of course it is not going to eliminate face-to-face interaction completely. Just as humans have flaws, technology can too. Social interaction is so important to begin with, so a home visit on a regular basis by family members, friends, nurses or doctors is going to have to also be a priority. Not only do we want to eliminate any concerns elderly people may have, but we want to make sure the devices they are using are operating at their optimum performance.
Ample amounts of different devices and technology are out there. We have it, so we might as well use it. Each person is different, so of course we want to fine-tune things to everyone individually. Each individual has unique needs that need to be attended to, which is another benefit to technology. It can be individualized. Technology is going to require set up, but in the end the idea of our American seniors being safe and maintaining their independence is the most important priority.
Kylie is pursuing an associate’s degree in Nursing.