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 DeVonna Jacobs
The field of Psychology is ever growing and changing. More people are in need of access to various types of mental health options.There is a greater demand for Psychologists in areas that some may not have thought about yet. When thinking about health care and in home care for elders Psychological services are often not looked at. People receiving in-home care have someone to come and take care of their physical and medical needs, but I believe they could greatly benefit from someone coming to care for their mental needs as well.
Allowing in-home care recipients to have access to Psychological services can greatly improve their quality of life. Depression is seen frequently and commonly in older adults and senior citizens. Having a therapist come in to the home to work with the elder, could allow for work to be done with the depressive symptoms and states. Hopefully therapy can alleviate the burden of the symptoms and make for a more positive outlook on life. Seniors receiving in-home care could benefit from having someone who could demonstrate empathy for them and be there to listen to them. The clients could gain so much from a steady relationship with someone solely dedicated to listening to them and helping them to move towards a healthy mindset about growing older. Elders would be able to disclose their emotions, fears and even past life traumas that they have not been able to work through. Elderly clients often have traumas and stressors that they have not dealt with or had to opportunity to deal with in the earlier stages of their lives. Given that seniors who receive in-home are are usually disabled or sick therapy can help to allow the clients to shift expectations for what their life reality now is or will be. Having a therapeutic bond to work through those emotions and thoughts that come from this new reality can be beneficial. In some cases elders who receive in-home care can be near the end of life. Having Psychological services can be valuable to preparing the client for this and can create a safe space to discuss their fears and other emotions in this time. Access to therapy can allow for a safe space to disclose and explore these things, which also can add to a better quality of life.
People working in the field of Psychology can help elders receiving in-home care by working together with the clients in-home care worker, since they both have the best interest of the client in mind. These two providers can work to make sure the client has the best possible care, one focusing on the medical and physical needs while to other working with the clients mental and emotional states.This relationship is important and worthwhile since one provider might be able to see something that the other cannot, or is not trained to see. This relationship can be beneficial by providing wrap around care for the client, which allows for a safe way to clinically hold the client for any support they might need. Psychological services partnered with in-home care can be extremely fruitful. Psychology can play a large role in accommodating and supporting elders in critical times. These clients could receive comfort and convenience from access to therapy in their homes. Elders and senior citizens are often forgotten, this is one field where they could reap so much from simply having access to psychological services.
DeVonna is in her first year of a Doctorate program in Psychology.