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 focuses on sources of evidence for evidence-based policy development. It explores some of the dilemmas with developing an evidence base and provides a range of empirical sources within the aging and disabilities arenas that can be used in building an evidence-based approach to policy development. The journey, however, will not be without struggle—since philosophical paradigms, and social and economic factors will interface and play a role in the development of evidence-based policy. The chapter helps the reader to be aware of healthy people 2020 benchmarks that are used to guide program planning and policy development. Benchmarks currently have been established in order to identify where health goals for the nation and individual states should be, and the program is evaluated routinely by local and state health departments. Healthy people 2020 is also used to gauge the impact of health policy.
This chapter explores health promotion frameworks, to showcase their role vis-à-vis health policy and programs, and discusses three specific frameworks. Health promotion frameworks are theoretical conceptions of how health behavior can be addressed. These frameworks are conceives for the purpose of program and policy development. The health promotion frameworks are the health belief model (HBM), the theory of reasoned action, the transtheoretical model of stages of change. This chapter addresses these three questions; however, prior to discussing these questions and answers, it is essential to understand some well-known health promotion frameworks. Although a number of health promotion frameworks exist in the literature. It focuses on three that can be specifically applied to older adults. The chapter showcases use of health promotion frameworks in the program planning process for older adults can have a number of positive outcomes.
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.
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.