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Interview on the Care of the Aged Program Report

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Updated: Mar 17th, 2022

Introduction

So long as human beings grow, they will not help aging. Aging will only be overcome when scientists come up with a way to keep cells from losing their youthful strength. This is why the care extended to aged people is of great concern. There is an ever rising need to take good care of people who have made sacrifices for the country for a good part of their lives (Morris1996, pp.27-29). The different ethnicities reflected in the country are also of interest as far as the care given to the aged people of color is concerned. This is the basis on which the interview on which this report is based was conducted. The program director of Visiting Nurse Services in Indiana, Mr. John Pipes, is the official I interviewed. Other issues that affect the care given to old people that are covered in this interview report include cultural and environmental factors, family and community attitudes and perceptions as well as economic issues. This report ends with a simple conclusion that gives a recap if the main ideas discussed in the report.

Caring For Old People

According to the Visiting Nurse Services program director whom I interviewed, caring for old people is a challenge. The reasons he gave for this position are as follows:

  1. Minimal resources
  2. The high level of care needed due to vulnerability of the old
  3. Diversity considerations (Cultural issues based on ethnic diversity)
  4. Limited support from the families

Minimal Resources

The opinion of the director regarding the amount of money that is available for the Visiting Nurse Services to run its programs is limited. This is not limited to this program only. The program director strongly asserted that nearly all institutions that take care of aged people are operating on a highly reduced budget. This, according to him, has had a negative effect in the operations of these institutions resulting in poor care. When I raised the question of the sources of funds that are available, I learned that grants and donations play a major role in meeting the needs of the institution. Once in a while the government extends help and this has been instrumental in establishing important facilities in most of the institutions that care for the old.

The High Level of Care Needed

The fact that these people are weak means that extra care is needed. There are so many things these people cannot do for themselves and the employees of Visiting Nurse Services have to do these things for them whenever they are able to. According to the program director, the time given to the Visiting Nurse Services as well as other programs that care for the aged by volunteers is very significant. These volunteers take their time during some days especially weekends to bath the old people and wash their items as well. The reduced cognition that worsens with advance in years also accounts for the need for extra care for old people (Beerman & Rappaport-Musson 2008, pp.19-23).

Diversity considerations (Cultural issues based on ethnic diversity)

On the issue of diversity in the care for the old, the program director pointed out that the harmony that exists in these institutions is unparalleled. He explained that there seems to be a realization of the shared destiny and the common humanity when people become old. African Americans, Hispanics and White Americans get closer in these programs in a way that can be considered unique. The program director pointed out that the wisdom of old people along these lines of togetherness becomes solid as they advance in years.

There is however a brief moment of loneliness when an old person is taken to a care center that has other old people who are predominantly from another ethnic group. But this, the director reported, does not last even a week. The majority group usually reaches out and makes the other old this person as comfortable as possible. Other issues that are of concern include language; an issue that affects even the services given by the nurses associated with Visiting Nurse Services. Hispanics who are not able to speak or understand English are the most affected by language barrier.

Demographics

The demographics of old people are also representative of general national population trends. By 2050, there is a high possibility that 35% of old people will be non-white (Bicket & Mitra2009, pp.1053-1057). More white people are taken to care centers than African Americans and Hispanics (Bicket & Mitra2009, pp.1053-1057).This can be attributed to cultural concerns with the African Americans preferring to take care of their old. This is also true for Hispanics whose cultural beliefs make them try to keep their old close to the family. Financial or economic considerations are also a factor (Byrd,Fletcher & Menifield 2007,51-55). But the fact that even wealthy African Americans do not take their old people in large numbers to care centers points to culture (Bicket & Mitra2009, pp.1053-1057). In terms of gender, more women than men are taken to care centers. The women are more than 50% (Bicket & Mitra2009, pp.1053-1057).The possible explanation is that when the women age first, they are taken to care centers by their husbands while women will try to take care of their aged husbands at home.

Family and community perceptions of both the aged and the care homes for the aged

Regarding the attitudes and perceptions of the families and communities to the old people, the director explained that some family members detach themselves from their old family members once they bring them to the care center. This is a source of problems for both the center and the old person in that the old person feels abandoned; a feeling that increases stress and brings about early death. The center also suffers since it has to deal with an old person who is stressed.

The Society and Aging

When I asked the program director to give a general opinion on aging and the society, he made it clear that positive cultural attitudes encourage good aging. Congratulating old people, giving them presents and holding birthday parties is a good way of keeping them healthy. Old people who are minorities in places where they are cared for should be made as comfortable as possible (Cummings & Galambos, 2004, pp.34-35).Also, the political system needs to recognize that old people need better care, and therefore more financial resources. The director further said that abusing old people and neglecting them is a sure way of interfering with their aging process.

Conclusion

Aging is an inevitable process. Old people, as per the explanation of Good Hope Center need more care, but this is not made available due to limited finances. Appreciating old people and showing consideration for minorities lead to a smooth aging process while abandonment and neglect lead to early deaths.

References

Beerman,S & Rappaport-Musson,J.,(2008). Eldercare 911: The Caregiver’s Complete Handbook for Making Decisions (Revised, Updated and Expanded), New York: Prometheus Books.

Bicket, M. C., & Mitra, A., (2009). Demographics and living arrangements of the minority elderly in the United States. Applied Economics Letters, 16(10), 1053-1057.

Byrd, L., Fletcher, A., & Menifield, C., (2007). Disparities in Health Care: Minority Elders at Risk. Association of Black Nursing Faculty Journal, 18, 51-55.

Cummings, S. M., & Galambos, C., (2004). Diversity and aging in the social environment. New York: Haworth Social Work Practice Press.

Morris, V., (1996).How to Care for Aging Parents. New York: Workman Publishing Company.

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