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 Yanet Garcia
I chose topic three because I believe that my major is key to improving in-home health care. It’s sad to hear how some elderly people are treated in their homes simply because the young people don’t want to care for them. In Stoughton, Mass. a woman was arrested for keeping her 75 year old aunt in the basement of her home while in cold conditions, temperature reading at 51 degrees. When the police arrived they found her dehydrated and malnourished. Stories similar to this are always being covered on the news. Sadly, some of the abusers are the family members themselves doing the physical, mental, and verbal abuse. It’s sad and angering and unacceptable. These people are causing harm to vulnerable, innocent people who can’t help themselves, much less protect themselves. My question is why are there is there so much abuse with this group of people. The answer is simple, because like women and children, elders are weak and usually stand alone with no one to protect them.
My number one best friend in the world is my grandmother. My ma Belen is so pure and innocent and happy. When I see her and think about other innocent people who have suffered from harm because they are vulnerable just like her, it makes me feel irate. I’m angry that I could be part the change that could stop this issue but yet I sit here with so many obstacles in my way. I want to fight for justice, for these people. I want to make a change for them. I want to protect them because if I don’t who will? These guys need us to fight for them, the law enforcement teams and the in- home health care teams need to join together to stop this problem and as a unit provide as much love and time for them. As a solution we could bring in more programs to watch over more elderly people more frequently. Programs that could fund better care for the senior citizens. As law enforcements we could have fundraisers to make sure every home care worker gets a background check as well as drug screenings and on top of that we could come up with a type of psychological screening where potential caregivers would have to have to prove that they can take care of someone in need. There are so many possibilities to make changes to make sure the right thing is being done.
Everyone needs a hero to look up to; an example to follow. In the past seven years most of my friends are people who are all over sixty years of age. We worked in the fields, from Sunday to Sunday. Doing this for years I got to a point where I isolated myself from everyone I knew from back home. There was no one to talk to because in my mind, I was at work to work. And so I did, but people started to see how hard I was working. My boss, Ronnie is 65, gave me a promotion and he has become one of many that influences me to work hard. Another is a woman, Miss Marie, she is 67, who owns a hotel and she has encouraged me to fight for what I want. My land lord; he is 78, who has never let a day pass without telling me that he is proud of me. I consider these people my friends and my family. I love to sit with them and listen to their stories about their lives and about the struggles they have faced. I believe that as generations pass, the real links we have to the past are people. Sure there are books and movies about our history but there is nothing that compares to sitting with someone who has lived it. And I get this feeling with my friends. They give me so much while expecting nothing but my success in return. These people have become my family and they’re getting older every day, as am I. I feel that they and every other elder person are the people who need help and protection from harm.
Everything comes around and it is up to the next generation to care for the people who made the present possible. Without our elders we wouldn’t exist. Senior citizens are the past and the young are the future, so in the present we have to live for each other.
Yanet is a freshman at Valdosta State University in south GA.