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 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.