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 Reeha Patel
Having a major in Biochemistry opens up a lot of doors in the health care field. I want to become a pharmacist and help my community around me but I do want to also focus more on elderly people. I feel like many elderly people do not understand the kind of help that is out there for them. I partly feel like this because most pharmacists do not care about explaining all the benefits to them. Instead they just want to get the patient in and out. I feel like for those pharmacists it is more of a job, but for me I have a passion to make my community better. From past experience of working at an elderly in home, I know that pharmacist do not come to visit. If any pharmacist were to come it would just be for an hour and every 6 months to talk about the flu shots but not give out any. To improve, pharmacists need to come in every month and provide more services. As an upcoming pharmacist I would like to be more attentive with the elderly people and serve them just as well as I would like to be when I am a senior.
One of the most important in home care services that can be offered to seniors is giving free flu shots. This would be done by physically going to the center and giving them shots. This would give them easy access and no excuses to not get vaccinated. Getting flu shots done would help them not to get sick from other people around them, because especially at that age I can only imagine how hard it is. It will also make their immune system stronger, so in case if they do happen to get the flu it is not as bad as it could have been. Giving seniors easy access to flu shots can be very beneficial to them.
Another helpful service that can be provided as a pharmacist is going to check blood pressure and sugar levels. After receiving the results almost instantly, this would give me knowledge to where the patient is health wise. Then I can help them further on to guide the patient to whether they are taking the correct medications or if they need to switch to a different medication or increase the dosage to help their body, of course after consulting with the doctor. It is very important to have regular check ups when at that age because anything can change almost instantly. Also having one on one time to talk to the patient is always a nice gesture. In the pharmacy things are always so rushed because there are many people waiting in lines. In this environment I could actually talk to the patient and get to know them to show that I truly do care. You always need to be on top of things to make sure the senior is healthy and happy.
Making sure that seniors are receiving the best medical part D plan is important as well. Many seniors do not know what plans are available for them. The least that I can do is go in and explain the different options. As a working pharmacy technician, I have seen many elderly people coming into the pharmacy and paying hundreds of dollars for their medications. My pharmacy manger suggested trying medical part D and when the patient switched over the medication was free. Little things like this can help the elderly and not have to burden them with expensive bills for highly necessary things.
Overall, we need to take care of the elderly people and try to give them a lot of importance than we already do. Some pharmacists do not see this as a necessity, but I see it as one. They have served us for all these years so it is the least that we can do. I can say for myself that if I was in a home care facility, I would love for a pharmacist to come over at least once a month to provide me services that I could not normally attend to because of my old age. Getting to know your pharmacist shows that someone cares besides family and is always a heart-warming feeling. Our seniors need special care and I am willing to provide it after I become a pharmacist.
Reeha is working on becoming a pharmacist.