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 Yusra Sarhan
Humans: one of the greatest engineering feats to ever walk the face of this planet. Every cell, every tissue, every muscle, every organ, every bone is designed perfectly to allow human beings to implement active and healthy lifestyles. Today, many of the man-made engineering structures that are designed are based off the human body. The hinges on doors, for instance, are based off the elbow and knee joints, which are commonly referred to as hinge joints. However, even the powerful human structure wears and becomes, at some point, aged. At this point in life, the human has become a senior who is in need of some extra services such as in-home care service. This brings me to an important point: in order to provide in-home care service to seniors, medical technology needs to be implemented that will aid physicians and care-takers in servicing seniors. Which major of study can help improve the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services? The answer is simple: biomedical engineering.
Currently, I am a sophomore who is majoring in biomedical engineering (BME) with a 3.57/4.00 GPA at the Illinois Institute of Technology and I realize that there is no limit to the benefits of majoring in biomedical engineering. BME is an interdisciplinary major in which the principles and tools of traditional engineering fields are integrated with the chemical, physical, and biological sciences. Together, they are applied towards a better understanding of physiological processes in humans or towards the solution of medical problems. Engineering will continue to play an increasingly important role in advancing medical treatment, developing biotechnology, and improving health-care delivery. Biomedical engineering will give me the cutting edge I need to contribute to a progressive engineering world that continually works to improve human health, specifically including seniors who are receiving in-home care services.
Physical limitations that are experienced by seniors take on many forms and they could be caused by many things such as automobile accidents, sports, and even everyday activities. A very common example is when a senior falls and is injured. To illustrate, a senior man is taking his morning stroll through a park and he stumbles as he is walking. In a matter of seconds, he is on the ground. He has landed on all four limbs (palms of his hands and knees) and an intense, sharp pain shoots up his back. He gets up but it is obvious that he now has a physical limitation that did not exist before. Now, it is necessary for him to seek medical attention and, more specifically, in-home care service. After contacting a care taker for this service, this man is given pain killers, which have been designed by biomedical engineers to inhibit cellular processes at the precise area of pain, and he is also given crutches, which have been modified by biomedical engineers in order to allow movement when someone is temporarily handicapped. In the end, this man is able to walk normally again and, more importantly, he is able to enjoy the physical blessings he was enjoying before he was injured.
The aforementioned examples do not even scratch the surface of the diversity of the physical issues that seniors experiences which make biomedical engineering a priceless tool in terms of providing in-home care services. Specifically, these examples merely outline a few ways biomedical engineering can make a difference in a senior’s life. It is important to realize that many of the in-home care services that are provided would not be possible without the right technology. Even simple things, such as wheel chairs, are an example of how technology can make in-home care service possible. However, most of the medical technology that exists today is present because of biomedical engineering. For this reason, biomedical engineering improves the lives of seniors who are receiving in-home care services.
Yusra is a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology.