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 Kaeden Bauman, Colorado Christian University
Tia Walker once said in her book, The Inspired Caregiver, “To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.” As the US, elderly population continues to rise in numbers. An increase in premium senior care options is following close behind. According to the US Census Bureau, the numbers of Americans ages 65 and older will more than double over the next 40 years, reaching 80 million in 2040. The numbers of adults ages 85 and older, the group most often needing help with basic personal care, will nearly quadruples between 2000 and 2040. The nation is aging. By 2040, about one in five Americans will be age 65 or older, up from about one in eight in 2000. Frankly, these Americans deserve superlative care as they continue to become wiser and thus veterans of the epic journey we call life.
As a business administrations major and a person who’s mind is constantly assessing the world we live in. I will be completely honest, that the area of seniors, receiving in-home care services is drastically on the rise and is in need of a serious makeover. I believe that the majority of the US population envisions the word “senior citizen,” as a time where one can spend the rest of their lives with their loved one and live off their retirement and Social Security funds. While this might be the path of many retired Americans, the time comes where they are no longer able to care for themselves and require addition assistance. This area of life, in my opinion is very scary and uncomfortable to consider. As a result, many senior citizens refuse to live in the “old person home” and continue to live without additional care, until a drastic and unforgettable situation arises in the areas of health, mobility, and mental awareness. This leaves no other choice but to enter into senior care services. The situation I just described is the colossal problem facing the industry. This problem needs to be solved.
There is a persona around assisted care living that if one takes part in assisted living that they are no longer loved, unable to think for themselves and frankly is just a place to slowly witness the last days of life. Through a business perspective, this is miserable. There is no enthusiasm, hype, or incentive associated with the business and as a result, it becomes a “last resort” type area, where the senior citizens’ children pass the torch of responsibility to someone else. My grandparents are entering into retirement within the next couple of years. Personally, I do not want them to have to go to an assisted living complex as my family and I want to provide the care. However, that can become an overwhelming experience. If only there was another option associated with assisted care living, that didn’t emphasis a place where one lives their final years, but instead allowed senior citizens to have their freedom with the accessibility of immediate care. While there is probably something similar to this already instituted, I would propose a new type of assisted living. It would be a community of fellow senior citizens that would be able to purchase their own homes within the grand complex. They would have the freedom to furnish their homes as they please, allowing them to feel more comfortable in the situation. Furthermore, the home would be equipped with assisted living commodities such as medical equipment, indicators of health, etc. The complex would include a clubhouse type institution that would include extravagant activates and would allow new lifelong friend to be made. The residents could then be assisted in their everyday living while being in their own homes and within immediate medical attention. Moreover, this would create an environment that was friendly and inviting and change the persona of assisted living.
While the above statement is simply an idea, it is the overall concept that needs a change. Growing old should not be an alarming venture but instead it should be a new adventure in life. It should be a time where you enjoy your wisdom and have the freedom to do what your heart desires. However, it comes a time in life when we need the assistance of others. This is not a bad thing; it is just another stage in life. Overall, as Americans we need to take care of those who took care of us and allow those people continue their legacy.
Kaeden is a sophomore currently majoring in business administration at Colorado Christian University.