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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Social, Political, Economic, and Demographic Factors and Historical Landmarks Impacting Aging and Disability Public Policy
This chapter helps the reader to be familiar with the demographic and social factors that influence and shape aging and disability policy over time and to be aware of policy changes over the past century within disability and aging public policy. It explains the contrast between advances in science and technology and public policy related to people growing older and people with disabilities. Landmarks serve as essential tools to help us recall specific historical events in time. Historical landmarks, science, and technology have played significant roles in the evolution of social policies; however, aging and disability policies may not have made as many strides as other areas throughout history. The chapter briefly discusses: the role of historical landmarks in shaping social trends and public policies; the relationship between historical landmarks and aging and disability-related policies; and trends in policy, social, and political influences and landmarks in the United States.
This chapter discusses Older Americans Act (OAA). In the original act, the principles are defined through six specific titles. Title one: outlines the objectives and defines the administrative oversight for the OAA. It provides definitions for the administrative structure to carry out the OAA. This organization includes the secretary, commissioner, and the role that individual states will take on in the administration of the act. Title two: administration on aging establishes the infrastructure for the administration of aging services and outlines the main activities of this administrative structure. Title three outlines the authorization process of appropriations for the purpose of community planning, services, and training. Title four is about research and development projects. Title five: training projects outlines the provision of funds for training projects to benefit individual states. Title six outlines the advisory committees that govern the administration of the OAA.
This chapter helps the reader to understand the history of the Elder Justice Act (EJA). It provides specific components of the EJA and how programs and services flow for older adults and people with disabilities. The chapter discusses the limitations in programs and services within the EJA. The EJA requires the oversight and the appropriation of federal funding to protect people growing older and people with disabilities from abuse. It addresses legal issues with a special emphasis on the concept of a power of attorney. The chapter explores several legal issues that face older adults. It also address elder abuse, power of attorney, and a differentiation made between the types of power of attorney and the healthcare power of attorney. In addition, the chapter explores legal services provided to older adults as a result of the Older Americans Act, and outlines the challenges within the realm of legal issues.