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 helps the reader to understand the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), specific components of the ADA and how the ADA provides resources to older adults and people with disabilities. The ADA, while groundbreaking, was not initially intended for people with disabilities rather than for older adults. As time progressed, however, the benefits of the ADA were much more far-reaching than originally intended, especially for aging adults with disabilities. The individual titles of the ADA have had some dramatically positive and specific impact for older adults wishing to remain in their homes or in their communities as long as possible. Although the ADA is still in its young adulthood, the benefits of the ADA have only grown as new and further linkages, such as the ADRCs, have developed in all regions of the United States.
This chapter presents a brief overview of some legislative efforts within the mental health (MH) arena and examined their limitations and application with respect to older adults and people living with mental illness. The chapter also takes us through a journey to examine the current status of MH and older adults, with a particular emphasis on depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. It discusses and reviews the programs, services and issues still outstanding within the MH arena. The chapter helps the reader to understand specific components of the Community Mental Health Act and other MH-related legislation. Many of the community day hospital programs and community MH programs administered through the Community Mental Health Act are based on the deinstitutionalization paradigm since the goal is to treat people outside the institution and within community settings. It concludes with laying out some challenges for the future in the area of MH and older adults.
This chapter discusses the history of the Medicare in the United States; specific components of Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D; and how Medicare provides healthcare resources to older adults and people with disabilities. Medicare, a healthcare program perceived to be a universal program rather than one based upon a needs test, currently provides healthcare to people who reach the age of 64. Comprised of four parts, it can provide hospital care, general healthcare, hospice care, home healthcare, and prescription drug coverage. The chapter provides an overview of the Medicare program, its various components, and aspects of healthcare that are covered through its component parts. Although there are currently no needs tests or limitations as to who qualifies for services, the chapter concludes with some dilemmas for the future of healthcare coverage, including “an empty pot at the end of the rainbow” and rationing of healthcare services and procedures.