October 04, 2021

Gerontologist Dr. Lakelyn Hogan Named HHCN Future Leader

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Article originally featured in Home Health Care News

Lakelyn Hogan, Ph.D., Home Instead gerontologist and caregiver advocate, has been named a 2021 Future Leader by Home Health Care News.

To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.

Hogan sat down with HHCN to talk about why the caregiver workforce needs a public awareness campaign — and why all leaders should be curious.

HHCN: What drew you to this industry?

Hogan: I actually grew up in this industry; my parents founded Home Instead, but I didn’t think I would get into this field until maybe later in life. I took a course in gerontology during undergrad, and it really drew me in. I was hungry to learn more. That really inspired me to continue to pursue my education and then a career in the aging field.

What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?

I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that this industry is so multifaceted. When people think about the field of aging, they don’t realize that it’s more than just nursing homes. Unfortunately, in society, we’ve had such a limited view of what aging is like. I think that’s changing, which is great to see. There’s a lot of innovation and opportunities in the aging space.

I learn something new every day in this industry. People are working not only on the direct care side of things, but also the technology side. And there’s a whole financial and business side to aging and home care. I would love for people to understand it’s really an intriguing field to be in — and it’s a growing field. That is something I’ve really come to learn over my career in aging.

If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of home-based care, what would it be?

I think there are several things. If I had to choose one, I would say to attract more people to work in the home care industry. We’re seeing that the demand for care in the home — and for long-term care services, in general — is growing. It’s only going to continue to grow. We need the workforce to support the needs of the aging population.

As an industry, we are making strides toward this, but we need to continue to find ways to make working in home care — working in senior care — more appealing to people of all ages. We need to truly make this a rewarding career option.

Home Instead recently released a report that had recommendations on how we can enhance the workforce. One thing I think we could do differently is create a public awareness campaign for the home care workforce, similar to what’s been done for nursing and teaching. There have been intentional campaigns over the years that have highlighted nurses and the importance of the work = they do, have highlighted school teachers and the importance of the work that they do.

As an industry, something that we can get better at is really highlighting this profession and making sure that society realizes it’s a valued profession. It’s not a profession of last resort by any means.

What do you foresee as being different about the home-based care industry looking ahead to 2022?

There really is a growing emphasis on the home. Due to the pandemic, a lot of health care had to be delivered in the home. I think we’re seeing the home as a place that’s being viewed as a good place for seniors to receive services to keep them out of the hospital and keep them healthy.

I think that we’re really being seen. I don’t want to say for the first time, but I feel like, for the first time, health care is seeing us as a value to the care continuum. I think for so long, we’ve been separated from the health care system. Health care would say, “Okay, we do the medical things, and you are just home care.”

In a word, how would you describe the future of home-based care?

Bright. There are just a lot of opportunities in the space right now. I think the future of health care is in the living room. We’ll see a lot more care and support being driven to the home setting.

What quality must all future leaders possess?

There are a lot of qualities that a leader should possess, but I’ll say curiosity, especially in this field. Our industry is changing and evolving. There’s a lot of technology that’s coming into the space, and I think that leaders have to be open to learning. They have to be curious to understand new ideas and to seek out better and more efficient ways to meet the needs of the aging population. I think being curious will serve a leader well in this field.

If you could give advice to yourself looking back to your first day in the industry, what would it be and why?

I would look back and say to myself, “You have unlimited potential, and you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to.”

Throughout my career, I know there have been times when I’ve doubted my own talents and abilities. I’ve certainly had a lot of great opportunities and have been blessed, in a lot of ways. Maybe it’s human nature, or maybe female nature, to sometimes doubt your own talents and abilities and to think, “Am I smart enough to be in this room?” I wish I could have told my younger self, “Yes, you have potential. Be confident in your skills and abilities.” I think it would have helped me to be more comfortable taking more risks in the earlier parts of my career.

That said, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve loved every minute, and I think my career has evolved into something that I never would have imagined. I feel very fortunate.