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 Laura McLaughlin
There are different ways that Communications could improve the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services. News Advertisements, caregiver qualifications, and consulting with doctors are all crucial parts of improving the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services.
Due to technological advancements with our new, upcoming generation, seniors today are not able to relate. How many times have you seen a senior use their “smart phone” to look something up? The chances of that are very rare. One way to relate to seniors today is through news advertisements. Newspaper articles, television broadcasts, and radio broadcasts are the most reliable ways to relay information to seniors. Careers in journalism, whether a scriptwriter, newspaper or magazine publicist, careers in broadcasting, television or radio news, are the careers our seniors rely on as a primary source of information. Communications majors will be the ones helping seniors find the right in-home care service for them in their area. This will prevent any elderly citizen from saying, “I needed help but did not know where to find it.” Relaying information properly to all age groups is crucial. Sure, technology improvements help many of our lives, but we need to remember not all generations are advancing as we are.
Caregivers need to have certain qualities to be successful in this field. In-home care caregivers have to be accessible for the patient and patient’s family, if a relative needs to know information or simply calls to talk to the patient, the caregiver must be available. Another characteristic a caregiver should have is being lovable. In-home care you are living with a senior at all times. From my own experience, both sets of my grandparents have used in-home care. My family’s caregivers were almost like adopted children to my grandparents, they fit in like another member of the family. They are responsible for the patient. One way to make sure all caregivers fit these qualities is to have them go through a course. Some communications courses offered at my college are public speaking and group interpersonal work. Group interpersonal teaches people how to work with and relate to other people. This could be used to make sure all caregivers are fully qualified and have the best characteristics to benefit patients.
Equally important, not only do caregivers need to relate to the patients, but also to medical professionals. Another benefit would be to consult with geriatric doctors to stimulate the patient’s mind. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the main idea is to stimulate the patient’s mind enough to make their life worth living. Some patients live a life that consists of waking up, getting ready for the day, sitting in a chair spending the majority of their day napping, and later going back to bed. Caregivers could get them to talk, ask them questions, which would lead to them telling stories. If caregivers could be trained to work with these patients to keep them active, this would improve their service and the patient’s lifestyle.
The communications field has so many different types of work that the field would be able to improve in-home care services a tremendous amount while benefiting seniors.
Laura is a communications student at George Mason University.