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 Laura Winkelmann

All members of the community should be involved in improving in-home care. My major in Special Education focuses on helping improve the lives of individuals that will often need in-home care. Many seniors develop disabilities to where they need assistance walking, eating, getting dressed, showering or being bathed. Some of the disabilities that people who work for in home care have to deal with included Alzheimer’s, arthritis, diabetes, and dementia. With Alzheimer’s and dementia, the individual slowly deteriorates the memory of the individual. You can be done with these disabilities are helping them understand what the disease may do and what can be done to help the individual, also you can comfort loved ones and the individual with the disease. With an individual who has arthritis, people can look for what would help the individual who has the arthritis to improve their life so that it doesn’t get worse. The in-home professional may need assistance with a physical or occupational therapist. With an individual who has diabetes, some services could include helping them to watch what they eat so that their sugar doesn’t get to high. Teaching good nutritional health would be a priority.

Agencies who employ individuals with Special Education backgrounds can improve the lives of seniors who are receiving in-home care because they can send out people that can help people who are disabled and cannot do certain things. Helping seniors and people with disabilities can be challenging. The individuals who are sent to help with in-home care are very caring, and have experience dealing with certain situations that may occur in the house. The people who are sent out are going to be able to talk with the seniors, and get to know them. Their goal should be to help them the best they can. In-home care for seniors can be stressful for the senior. Providing care so that these seniors get the best care from in-home professionals is crucial in letting them know that there is someone who will take care of them.

Individuals in Special Education careers learn how to deal with tough situations, and are trained in how to take care of people that do not have the same capabilities as others. Teachers and professionals in Special Education programs require a great deal of patience. This helps them excel when taking care of the individual with a disability in a way that no one else would be able to because they are trained to look out for the patient or students best interest. Since each situation is different with seniors and individuals with special needs professionals in Special Education are able to know what things the individual may like or not like, and how they would react to certain things They are also going to be able to know why an individual is doing a certain thing, and know how to fix it in a way that is safe for everyone involved.

Finding confident and caring staff for in-home care is essential so that the seniors know that there is someone out there looking out for them. This will encourage in-home care clients to not lose hope. Special Education majors can put a unique advantage to assisting with in-home senior care. Although, most will not be certified in the healthcare aspect of in-home care, many would be able to deal with seniors who have a disability. Special Education majors often teach in a classroom. This would be an advantage for finding activities that the seniors would be interested in doing. Together with a healthcare provider, Special Education majors could be a beneficial asset to providing seniors with the in-home care they need. This could extend the life of the seniors in our communities and give them the joys they enjoyed throughout the early years of their life.


About Laura

Laura plans on attending Western Illinois University, and majoring in Special Education.


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