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 Lawrence VanHook
I live in the impoverished part of East Oakland, California. There is a long list of issues in Oakland with employment, foreclosure, low wages, and several others, but regardless, it all contributes to the pertinent amount of poverty in Oakland. Because of these financial hardships for families, oftentimes, the family nor the senior can even afford the care. The rates for trying to receive In-Home Care are indeed cheaper in Oakland than in other larger and more prominent cities and states, but when you are struggling to eat dinner every day, In-Home Care isn’t always the main concern, regardless of whether or not care is desperately needed. Because of this problem of finances, many people often try and find other ways to satisfy this need for care.
When there is the issue of affording In-Home Care, though there are a variety of decisions that people make to cope for their need, none of them are safe decisions to be made. Of course there are several of those in need of care that simply choose to risk staying home alone and hope for the best. This is obviously not a good choice to make because seniors have a need for additional care and this ignoring that need can very easily cause injury or put them in life threatening situations. Many families that have a senior who needs care will very often place their trust in someone who is an accredited In-Home Care Provider. For those who are certified In-Home Care Providers often charge more than those who are not certified which leads to many problems. If the family does choose to hire a non-certified care provider, it is often times a family member, friend, or they will hire someone in a non-accredited company that offers the services. With family or friends, though they have good intentions, a lot of the time they don’t have any experience in the field and are actually putting the senior in a greater risk without noticing. It’s a similar situation with non-credited companies as well. The accreditation means that the individual is versed in all the aspects and complications of taking care of a senior that has varying types of needs. Without this accreditation you cannot be very sure that the senior will be safe. Though many families and seniors understand all the risks that come with not being able to afford a certified In-Home Care Provider, they of course are doing what they can to try and keep themselves and loved ones safe. When you look at the bigger picture, some families can make changes in their lives to afford a Certified Care Giver, and there a families that have done all they can, and have no choice but to take an alternate plan of action. Finding less safe options should not have to be the norm for those who cannot afford the help that they need.
Similar to Universal Health Care, it should be the same way with In-Home Care Services. A portion of our taxes should be allocated to making sure that if there is a senior who needs In-Home Care services, they have the opportunity to receive it regardless of how much money they have for it. Of course, there would have to be criteria that those receiving the care fit so it benefits those seniors who actually need it. In-Home Care is just as important as health care because this is the seniors’ health that we are talking. We’re talking about the health of a sister, a wife, a daughter, a mother. This is the health of my grandmother who lives by herself in Las Vegas, who I love and care about deeply. It would be unfair and unjust to deny her a Certified Health Care Provider because we simply do not have the money.
Lawrence is currently a Junior Athletic Training Major at LMU (Loyola Marymount University) in Los Angeles, CA.