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 the healthcare industry use technology to improve in-home care for American seniors?
Essay response by Terrance Williams
When I was nine, my grand mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. For the next four years I watched my grandmother lose her memory. As I spoke with her on her final days she didn’t remember me. She didn’t remember who I was or the great memories we shared together. She didn’t remember us playing Uno together or catching my first fish down at the Old Creek Lake. My grandmother meant the world to me. In her last days finding the perfect in home living assistance became a priority for my family and myself.
Families want to be sure that the in-home assistance provided to their senior family member is the best and most comfortable. Some in-home care patients are placed in the same room where they are subject to facing the same living background on a daily basis. In the rooms there is nothing to brighten their day and make them as comfortable as possible. Studies show over 75% of seniors with in-home care suffer from dementia and alzheimer. These disorders can become tiring and frustrating for in-home nurses. There is a large amount of care and patience used to help seniors with these disorders. In home nurses are faced with treating their patients in the same scenery everyday. Studies also show that being subject to the same scenery and routine can cause depression and forms of anxiety.
The purpose of in-home care is to make senior living as comfortable as possible. With new advances in technology this becomes possible. I suggest implementing virtual scenery rooms in all of the inpatient homes. A virtual scenery room is a room where the walls portray scenes that make the living conditions more comfortable and soothing. The walls will display soothing music to match the scene of the room. For example, a senior has his/her favorite memories as a child being on the beach. The room will portray virtual walls of a beach. The scenery will be so clear and soothing the patient will literally feel as though they are on the beach. The patient will enjoy their most nostalgic moments while being in the comfort of their home. Nurses will be able to treat their patients easier because they will be in a more relaxed environment. The walls can portray a variety of different scenes so that there will be a different view to meet each clients need. Maintenance of the room will be easy because the walls can be turned off and on or changed by remote control. The interchangeable views will also allow the patient to not have to see the same view everyday.
I believe the simple things matter the most. This solution will cause less stress for the patients and nurses. The families of the in-patients will be more happy and comfortable with having their loved ones in a more stress free environment. My grandmother loved to fish and be by the water. I truly believe she would’ve loved living her last remaining days in a room were she could vicariously see and feel the beautiful soothing lake from where she use to fish. The nostalgic feeling would make her more comfortable and truly more euphoric in her last days.
Terrance is currently a graduate student at the University of Central Florida.