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 Paloma Moya-Colunga
A major challenge being faced in my home town is that in-home care is not an available option. Having in-home care in Idaho is practically unheard of, outside the Boise area (State Capitol). This is due to the high-cost, which insurances generally get picky about and do not always cover entirely. There is a waiver that the state of Idaho provides if you qualify certain categories. It specifically states “Aged and Disabled Waiver: Allows a person to receive services in their home, rather than in a skilled nursing facility”. In my opinion, this statement is worded to favor the option of a retirement center and put off the idea of a in-home care service by making it seem inadequate compared to a “skilled nursing facility”. Overall the state of Idaho certainly has poor in-home care services for its elderly citizens. Due to this issue; elderly citizens have to settle for the option of moving into a retirement home. Sometimes this option is not the most ideal because it can cause an elderly person to become very unhappy. They are being moved from a familiar place they call home into a strange four wall room with a common living space. For some elders it is hard to adapt to their living space as well as the other people living there. This is especially true with elders suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. One morning they may wake up in an unfamiliar place not being able to recognize where they are. This kind of experience can be frightening and is not good for the elders in terms of their overall happiness and health. Furthermore, having in-home care services can be more comfortable and convenient for elderly patients. Once elders (or caring family members) decide they can no longer manage things on their own and need assisted living they can turn to the source of in-home care. This way elderly people will no longer be intimidated by the thought of asking for help, in fear that they will be forced out of their home into a retirement center. Elderly people definitely deserve to be taken care of properly. After all they have spent their good years raising a family, working, and contributing to their country.
To solve this issue I propose to raise awareness and help start an in-home care program for Idaho, which will accept any elderly citizens. This is a huge project that must be discussed in local council meetings. I plan that this program should most likely be funded by local tax payers as well as a portion of the elder citizens Medicaid. Furthermore, I believe that family members should get more involved in looking for in-home care services that will be most beneficial, and humane to their loved ones. As residents of Idaho elders deserve to be treated with dignity, and respect in their elderly years ahead and should stand united to obtain the optimal health choice rather than settling for a traditional retirement home. Of course, in order for this to really be fulfilled there will need to be careful planning, a strong voice from the state of Idaho, and a well written legislative piece so that in-home care services become a definite option.
Paloma is currently a student at the College of Western Idaho.