While it may be easy to assume that in home care has been around for a long time, that’s not the reality. This type of elderly care is a relatively recent innovation, and it was made possible by the vision and sheer determination of people like Joan Quinn.
Ms. Quinn passed away last July after a lengthy battle with cancer at the age of 78. She was a Connecticut native and had earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree at the University of Connecticut. She studied nursing and began to see the need for in home care.
During the 1960s, Ms. Quinn recognized that there was no real medical or supportive care for aging seniors. If they needed support, they usually ended up in a nursing home or one of the earlier home care residences. However, she also noticed that the quality of care these individuals received was less than ideal. Often they were neglected, far away from their friends and community, and not in an ideal situation.
Just because these seniors were moving to this residences or nursing homes didn’t mean they wanted to. In fact, most of them likely preferred to remain at home, which is now known as ‘aging in place.’
Joan Quinn was focused on helping to make changes that would eventually lead to more opportunities for aging seniors to get the proper level of support and care in the comfort of their home. She eventually went on to lead one of the first government funded care management agencies. Today, those types of agencies number in the hundreds and provide support to millions of seniors and disabled individuals.
According to the article, A Driving Force For Stay-At-Home Care, by Anne Hamilton and published in the Hartford Courant:
“In the 1970’s, Quinn became the director of an organization called Triage, one of a small number of demonstration projects around the country that received federal grants to experiment with a new model: aging at home. Triage served seven Connecticut towns. Although there already were agencies that supplied health aides or nurses or housekeepers, there was no independent group with a financial stake in the outcome that could assess an elderly person’s needs and find the help he or she needed.”
At the time Ms. Quinn was entering into the care field, she was on the leading edge of something that would improve the lives of countless seniors. Her life serves as a beacon to those who share her passion, to provide aging seniors and disabled individuals the opportunity to live their life where they’re comfortable, which is often at home.
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