Many cities provide a senior community center, but are these centers able o provide support to homebound seniors who are not able to participate in on- site center activities? Cities should also focus on programs that meet the needs of homebound seniors. A senior community companionship program that makes free home visits to homebound seniors could make an overwhelmingly positive impact on their lives.
A companionship program for homebound seniors should be supported as an essential community volunteer function because it enriches the lives of immobile seniors by improving their emotional and physical health, and increases their quality of life and longevity.
Americans are living longer, and his is a good thing, but it adds complexity to the issue of meeting their long- term care needs. Nursing homes have seen occupancy rates significantly decline over the past 25 years. For those over the age of 85, occupancy rates have been cut in half (Clammiest, 2006).
Elderly people desire to stay in their own homes due to personal preference, but also because the cost of a nursing home is too high.
On average, in Michigan, a nursing home will cost $83,950 a year. Licensed home health care is estimated at $44,616 each year (Generator, 2013). Such high costs leave little options for those who cannot afford these types of care, yet many elderly adults still require assistance in their daily lives. Some fortunate seniors have family available to care for them, but other seniors are left without help.
Living alone can be a frightening time for seniors who are immobile because of poor health and advancing age. With the high rate of seniors living alone, providing a companionship program for homebound seniors is a solution to help improve the physical and emotional health issues experienced by the elderly. One health concern for homebound seniors living on their own is loneliness and depression. Loneliness impacts a senior’s emotional well-being, and may e one of the most difficult aspects of aging. A study conducted in the United Kingdom found that loneliness is more deadly in seniors than obesity.
In a six year study, scientists kept track of 2,000 elderly people and discovered the lonely ones were twice as likely to die as those who did not report feelings of loneliness. Those who reported being lonely had a 14% greater risk of dying, which means loneliness has twice the impact to an early death than obesity (Sample, 2014). With free home visits by community volunteers, this phase of loneliness could be lessened or prevented altogether. Often people believe that depression just comes with aging because a senior will experience so much loss in their lives.
However, research has shown that being social will have positive effects both physically and emotionally even when seniors experience emotional losses and physical decline in their lives. In this study, rates of depression decreased when seniors participated in community activities and made friends they could rely on (Fulbright, 2010). If it has been proven that social interaction benefits those who participate in activities provided at senior centers, how much more important t is to visit and lift the emotional state of homebound seniors who are not able to attend these centers?
Depression does not just disturb emotions, but causes actual pain and physical ailments, as well. The rates of depression are growing among seniors. Depression has hit more than 6. 5 million Americans over the age of 65, but it often goes untreated because it is difficult to recognize or is mistakenly diagnosed as other diseases such as dementia, Alchemist’s, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, Parkinson, stroke or thyroid disorders. Untreated depression in seniors is often fatal, as suicide is the most significant risk factor mongo the elderly.
Sadly, many seniors who commit suicide attempted to get help. One study showed 20% saw a doctor the day they died, 40% the week they died and 70% during the same month as committing suicide, but their depression was still not detected and treated (NAME, 2009). Communities can help homebound seniors who do not have others available. Emeritus Senior Living is the largest senior living resident community in the United States. This company has created a team of volunteers who visit community-dwelling seniors surrounding their centers.
They realize there is a need to reach out and visit hose seniors to address their depression issues. The volunteer team is called Blusterers and the main focus of their volunteer time is around the holidays when they see a rise in the depression level among seniors. Depressed seniors are either missing the companionship of a lost loved one, or feeling the pains of being homebound and not able to visit family. Budgie Impart, Executive Vice President of Quality Services for Emeritus said: “From experience, we know that for seniors, this time of year can be a trigger.
Increased hours of darkness can lower their spirits. On top of that, they may be thinking about how the inability o travel will keep them from spending the holidays with family. For those who have lost spouses or others dear to them, they might be worrying about getting through seasonal festivities without their loved ones at their side. ” (Impart, 2013) To ease this pain, the Blusterers have successfully engaged seniors to participate in programs that improve their health both mentally and physically at their community centers. This group goes beyond just inviting seniors to participate in their programs.
They also visit area seniors in their homes to provide support, companionship, and ensure they are living in safe environments. In the past year, the Blusterers have made over 70,000 free home visits (Emeritus, 2013). Every community needs to replicate this effort for their neighborhood seniors. However, not all researchers agree that loneliness triggers depression. In a study conducted by Sleep Journal, doctors observe how traumatizing depression can be to the quality of life for a senior, but their study points to sleep disturbances as the cause of depression.
While a lack of sleep may be one factor in depression symptoms, the study stated that their research did not include community-dwelling elderly individuals (Janssen et al, 2010). For those living on their own, isolated from any social interaction, loneliness could be far worse in causing depression. A lack of sleep could, in turn, be caused by their depression which creates a vicious cycle and an unhealthy situation for anyone to experience. A senior companionship program should be supported by community volunteers to make sure these emotional needs are being met and seniors get relief.
Until the program is put into place, it is unknown what benefits can be discovered for both the elderly and the volunteer. Volunteering is the gift of an individual’s time and resources. Of course, communities benefit greatly from this sacrifice of time, but the volunteer gains many benefits too. Such benefits include obtaining a great sense of achievement, learning new skills, and gaining new friendships. Volunteering can also be a great way to inspire others to help. Mahatma Gandhi, a famous leader of the Indian nation, said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. It is worth the time and effort of community volunteers to provide emotional support to the elderly, and it could supply an emotional benefit to each volunteer. Caring for he elderly is a responsibility the entire community can share and the benefits could be two-fold as it helps the elderly and the volunteers. Abraham Lincoln once stated, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. ” With a community volunteer program, a joyful life can be had by the aging population. Aging is unavoidable, but aging, along with loneliness and depression, does not have to be the norm.
The emotional needs of seniors can be addressed by making free home visits to provide support, companionship, a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on. A senior companionship program should e considered as an essential, permanent community program, supported by an abundance of resident volunteers. Letter to the Mayor of Troy, Michigan and City Council Members (Unit 5) Dear Mayor Slater and Troy City Council Members: The City of Troy boasts about its rating as the safest city in Michigan and one of the safest cities in the country. It claims to be the second most ethnically diverse city in the state.
Troy is in Oakland County, one of the most vibrant counties in the U. S. , and is ranked the 25th “Best Places to Live” (CNN Money Magazine 2012). With all of these published accolades, would the senior citizens of Troy, who are immobile and homebound, boast the same review? With over 81 ,OHO Troy residents, 26% of these residents are seniors over the age of 65, still living on their own (COSMOS, 2012). Many of these residents are single, without children or a spouse, who would benefit from a companionship program. How could a senior companionship program help our aging neighbors?
Depression among seniors is on the rise, and providing seniors with reliable companionship could alleviate their symptoms of depression. As a community, Troy residents can assist its senior citizens by providing up-building and encouraging companionship. Many believe depression comes with aging, but it is not just an inevitable effect for seniors (Smith, Robinson, Seal 2014). Community volunteers can be a force to help minimize depression in Troy’s community of senior citizens. At the next City Council Meeting, please consider hearing our plea for your support in establishing a Troy Senior Companionship Program.
Our program volunteers will visit and tend to the needs of our senior citizens living on their own, but we need the City’s support to help spread the news. Thank you for your time and consideration of this crucial program. Best regards, Technical Presentation (Unit 7) My multimode component was created in Powering and converted into a video through a feature available in Powering. The video has been posted on Youth. In my presentation, I wanted to create a feeling of despair the lonely seniors are experiencing and then their delight as the loneliness burden is lifted by a volunteer visitor.
I tried to convey these feelings by incorporating music and video into my presentation. The link to the video is: http://www. Youth. Com/watch? V=Chockablock Full citations are included in the presentation. Reflection As a writer, I learned that I have trouble with writer’s block, wordiness, and erect comma usage. I have many ideas in my head, but often find it difficult to get my thoughts on paper. I believe the process of pre-writing taught by Kaplan University is effective, and something I will continue to use throughout my course studies.
Establishing a thesis, then using an outline, and a post- draft outline helps create the correct flow to writing. The bedposts and writing tutorials are beneficial for editing, as well. I no longer dread the citation process, as I have developed these skills with confidence. My acquired writing skills from my composition courses will better equip me as I continue my education in the gal study courses. In regards to the Invention Labs and peer conversations, I find it difficult to critique my classmates in their writing.
This is mainly because I am more focused on my own work and find it difficult to devote the time to really engage in larger conversations. However, I did appreciate the feedback from my professor and classmates, so I certainly see the benefit of taking the time to participate in the Invention Labs. The feedback I received helped me make revisions to my blueprint. Wordiness is one of the issues identified by my classmates. These suggestions were very helpful in my revision process, and I as able to focus on making my writing more concise. References Barbiturate (2014).
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