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 Valeria Rivera
There is no denying that technology has drastically improved our lives by allowing us to access information quicker and easier. Over the past couple of years those in the health care industry have made numerous advances in technology that improve the lives of seniors who use in-home care. Many seniors choose to receive in-home care instead of a nursing home because of the comfort, costs, and one-on-one care around the clock or for a few hours. For those who receive care for a few hours a week or day, technological devices that track a person’s health can help caregivers or nurses take better care of their patients.
One particular device, healthy@home telemonitoring, monitors in-home care patient’s vital signs daily and sends this information to the caregiver. Systems like this allow the caregivers to better care for their patients by being able to catch any irregularities early and prevent further health problems. Catching health problems earlier with this telemonitor, senior citizens can reduce their hospital bills and visits.
It’s safe to say we live in an age where we can do almost everything on our cell phones, except make it cook a meal. We have thousands of mobile apps that track our health such as how much water we are drinking, how many hours of sleep we are getting, and the foods we are eating. Recently there have been several mobile apps for the in-home care industry. These apps allow caregivers and patients to document their vital signs, track medication given and taken, and communicate with those who are taking care of them. Applications that are specifically made for in-home care improve communication between patient and caregiver and makes updating health information simpler. I know for a fact that both my grandparents have absolutely no idea how to work my IPhone or the apps I have on it, but these apps are quick to learn how to work and easily accessible for them. Having a mobile app that allows someone to write down notes can help seniors make grocery lists, what tasks need to be done for the day, and what medications to take.
A big issue that can arise when seniors decide to stay at home and receive care is making sure they are taking their medications if they are prescribed any. Family members are often left wondering if they are taking their medications everyday and their specified time. Sensors have been a huge hit when it comes to in-home care and making sure medications are taken daily. These sensors can be placed in bathroom drawers, a refrigerator door, and pillboxes. Family members or caregivers are able to monitor their activity and make sure everything is being taken and or eaten.
Everyday it seems as if new technology is being invented for various different causes and seem to improve our lives a little more. There are millions of American seniors who currently choose in-home care over nursing homes and technology helps with daily tasks caregivers and or seniors have to accomplish, allows seniors to closely monitor their own health, prevent health problems to worsen, and reduce costs associated with hospitals and nursing homes.
Valeria is studying to earn a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice.