Final Blog Post/Summary

Well, I am done!

Having the opportunity to do this research has been eye-opening, especially in terms of guiding me closer to my career goals. I know that I have gotten the topic, eldercare, right. However, I have learned that I am more interested in working directly with elders and their caregivers than conducting fairly abstract research. I am now thinking about getting my master’s in healthcare administration with a concentration in gerontology. Career-wise, my next step is to do an internship in eldercare.

But, the most important thing that I have learned from my research has been this. The American eldercare system is broken in many ways, yet there is absolutely no reason to mourn its ineptitude. In fact, I am increasingly optimistic that demographic pressure (in that our population is aging at a faster rate than it is growing) will push us towards universal long-term care relatively soon. Couple a faster rate of aging with the fact that every elder, rich or poor, needs assistance in old age. Whether that assistance be just a neurological evaluation for Alzheimer’s/ other degenerative diseases, or be as broad as finding an answer to the question “what living arrangement will be best for me?”

With the idea that everyone needs some amount of help in old age in mind, it is also up to America to actively work towards the goal of being able to provide care to everyone (in the most patient-centered, quality-driven, and efficient way as possible). Researching how to provide this care to the entire population is essential, and the federal, state, and local governments should devote more resources for its conduct.

While it is true that elders vote more often than Millennials, our generation should not shy away from thinking about how we want our last couple of decades to go. Voting for officials who support expansion of public long-term care services is the easiest and most efficient way to ensure that, by the time we’re batting 100 years, we’ll have all the tools we need to continue to live happy and productive lives.