Kaplan CM-220 Written Assignment

Topics: Old age, Gerontology, Middle age Pages: 11 (2373 words) Published: August 25, 2014

Companionship Program for Homebound Seniors
CM220 - Unit 9 Project
Kaplan University
Companionship Program for Homebound Seniors
The population of elderly adults is growing quickly. The oldest members of the popular baby boom generation are now over the age of 65, which means there are more seniors now than ever before in the United States. Of this age group, 43.8% are either single or widowed, and living alone (U.S. Census, 2010). Aging adults desire to remain in their own homes, and this leaves the question as to who is responsible for making sure their physical and emotional needs are being met? Many cities provide a senior community center, but are these centers able to 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 this 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 (Clemmitt, 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 (Genworth, 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 be 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 it 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...

References: BrainyQuote (2014). Service quotes. Retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/service.html
City of Troy (November 2013)
Clemmitt, M. (2006, October 13). Caring for the elderly. CQ Researcher, 16, 841-864. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/
Fullbright, S
Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (January 2012) Community Profiles – City of Troy. Retrieved from http://www.troymi.gov/Portals/0/Files/EconomicDevelopment/SEMCOGCommunityProfile2012.pdf
United States Census Bureau (2012)
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