This chapter highlights some of the current health programs and policies in place and changes in demographic trends for older adults living within American society. In addition, substantial changes within the social, political, and cultural expectations of communities over the past century pose challenges for policies and programs serving older adults. The chapter presents several issues emerge as realities within the context of policy development and program planning for older adults. These issues include changes in living arrangements, education levels, economic well-being, and rural population settings; trends in morbidity and mortality; and changes within the social, political, and cultural expectations of communities. Despite the availability of programs and services resulting from health policies, many programs have focused upon “medically necessary” services and have lacked a health promotion, health education, or community-based focus.
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- Go to chapter: Background and Demographic Profile of People Growing Older and/or People With Disabilities
This chapter briefly discusses the history of the Caregiver Support Act and its specific components and explains how the Caregiver Support Act provides resources to older adults and people with disabilities. It provides an overview of the current status of family members serving as caregivers, with special attention to grandparents raising grandchildren. It then discusses a current profile of relative caregivers raising children in the United States; reasons for the increase in relative caregiving; and issues facing grandparents raising grandchildren. It also provides some background into the literature and promotes an awareness of issues that grandparents face as primary caregivers. A literature review examines some of the current issues and services needed. The chapter discusses resources and services designed to meet the needs of grandparents raising grandchildren, and reviews programmatic responses through the national resources. Finally, the chapter outlines some best practice interventions for review in the text.