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 Dorothee Louis, University of Massachusetts Lowell

I am a firm believer that there is no better place to be on earth than home. My grandmother is eighty-one. I am thankful that she is still very independent. She loves being home—in her own place, her own kitchen, her own bedroom and bathroom. There, she can follow the schedule that makes her happy and that works best for her. There she feels free and at ease. Being home lifts her mood in an incredible way, by giving her a sense of independence and dignity. It does not only improve her state of mind, but it also helps her feel better physically; because the health of the mind affects the body. With the right conditions in place, it is no wonder that people recover faster at home! Knowing how much my grandmother loves being home, how much this means to her, I desire for her to remain there safely and comfortably as long as she wishes and I desire to extend this same opportunity to other seniors. As a future Family Nurse Practitioner, I believe that I will help improve the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services in many ways.

Having had your own home for over forty, fifty, or sixty years makes being home an integral part of you. It provides a sense of autonomy, dignity, and security.  Having this taken from you can be disconcerting. You feel stripped of your independence, self-esteem, and plunged in uncertainty. I can only imagine the distress of the elderly who could safely remain home yet is not given that option because of lack of knowledge, lack of support, or resources. As a Family Nurse Practitioner, I hope to be supportive of my elderly patients’ wishes to remain home. I will work with them and their families to help them find the right home care services to meet their specific needs and thus ensure that their life at home is safe and comfortable. These services could include house-keeping, a sitter, a visiting nurse, etc. Having worked as a visiting nurse, I know that many families are totally unaware of services available to the elderly. The help and counsel of a trained provider in that area would enable many seniors to live happily and safely in their own home.

I will not only help my patients find and receive home care services, but I will also continue to work closely with them to ensure that they are satisfied with the services received and to reassess their health status and changing needs along the way. Ongoing support from a caring and compassionate primary care provider brings a sense of security and peace to the elderly and their families. With the shortage of primary care physicians, many seniors receiving home care services are followed by nurse practitioners. I hope to remain in contact with my senior patients’ visiting nurses and their other home care workers and clinicians. I plan to make myself to address their questions and concerns, write timely prescriptions, and more—all of which will contribute to improve the life of my senior patients as they receive homecare services.

Home sweet home, goes the saying. As a future Family Nurse Practitioner, I want to be an advocate for the seniors under my care to ensure that they too get to experience the joy of being home, while they receive the high quality in-home care services they deserve, in a safe and comfortable environment.

About Dorothee

Dorothee is a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in the Family Nurse Practitioner program.

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