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 Nicole Hansen
Imagine yourself years from now. Imagine yourself as you age, as your children grow, as your children’s children grow. Before you know it you are a great grandparent and do not know where the time has gone. Recently a friend you’ve known in the neighborhood died, or maybe even your spouse has passed away. You realize it’s time to accept death, but you just do not know how. You realize you cannot walk up the basement stairs with the laundry basket anymore. You realize you cannot be on your feet all day long like you used to be. Could it be that it’s just old age? You realize you need some help, but you do not know where to turn to. One day you talk to your doctor. Your doctor refers you to a psychologist in the area. The doctor even mentions that the psychologist will come to your home. You decide to invite this stranger into your home, and are surprised by the comforting talk you and your psychologist have. It was as if you had known this person longer than a day; as if this person took in every single word you said. You were given the support you needed but also the empathy you unwillingly sought. You come to the conclusion that this new therapy will help you come to terms with the aging process and give you access to help when you need it. You learn to not be ashamed because everybody ages.
Psychology is an interesting field of study. It allows the person to have an in depth look at how the human brain works and why people behave the way they do. There are so many different branches in this field that it can help many different kinds of people. Geriatric psychology is a branch of psychology that emphasizes on the mental, emotional, and physical problems that elderly people deal with. People of old age have to accept that they are aging and may not be able to do things that they used to. People that are aging may also face the inevitable deaths of family, friends, and spouses. This may come as a hardship to some, and could potentially lead to grief and depression, along with other mental issues. Psychologists can enter the elderly individual’s world and provide services that can help the person age gracefully and learn to accept the world around them. Psychiatrists can even provide medication if need be, if the person is having severe problems. There are so many different kinds of therapies available as well. The psychologist can enter the home and provide a session where the individual can express their feelings and concerns and the psychologist gives insight and suggestions on how to improve daily lives. This may be a far fetch idea for people who need in-home services, but group therapy is also always an excellent service. With group therapy, people that are going through similar issues in their lives come together and talk about and figure out solutions to approach life in a more positive light. Family therapy is another service that would allow family members of the elderly individual get together and talk about issues and problems faced by the individual, and think about solutions to make the person feel more comfortable and accepting. Counseling and therapy allocates the opportunity for elderly people to overcome difficulties they are facing as they age and overcome issues they are detrimental. The elderly may receive diagnoses of illnesses and may have a hard time coping with the disease. Psychologists can be there for support if need be. Sometimes all somebody wants is for another person to talk to, for another person to listen to them speak. People in the field of psychology have the expertise to support individuals mentally, emotionally, and physically. Psychologists are people too though and will always be able to lend an ear when needed. All that matters in the end is that the individual is comforted and is in a happy place in their life as time continues to pass by, and sometimes a little help from somebody is all it takes.
Nicole is a junior at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.