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 what a needs assessment is and be acquainted with a framework within which to conduct a needs assessment. and to be familiar with the core concepts of a needs assessment. It helps the reader to be familiar with strategies that encompass a needs assessment. Needs assessments can be carried out by a wide cast of people. Social workers and public health workers, as well as city planners, can carry out needs assessments, as can government organizations. Local citizens or groups of people can also be responsible for carrying out a needs assessment. The chapter provides an overview of strategies to develop a needs assessment. When used in combination with a health behavior framework, a needs assessment can help one determine the needs of a community and attempt to build community support for this resource or policy change through media advocacy and coalition building.
- Go to chapter: Challenges for Policy and Program Planning for the Future: Realities and Visions for the Future
This chapter address a number of areas that will affect the lives of people as they age or people who are older adults. Philosophical paradigms, statistics, evidence-based approaches, dealing with the media, making people aware of new technologies, and preparing for communities to best deal with issues of aging are all major issues of concern. It provides a range of issues; however, the chapter provides an overview of the most significant ones to be addressed or to require intervention. It cites 10 major challenges that the future will bring, in reality, policy advocates will have to be prepared to address and deal with these challenges by using innovative strategies for policy development and policy change. The chapter addresses policy development and program design to meet the needs of an aging and ability-challenged society are unique challenges.
This chapter helps the reader to be familiar with the role coalitions play in advocacy and policy development and to understand the various types of coalitions that affect the policy landscape. It also helps the reader to be familiar with the various roles that exist within groups and coalitions that contribute to the success or non-success of the group process. A number of strategies can be used to develop initiatives to impact one’s advocacy efforts. These strategies can be used to promote the development of new programs and services and can include the use of and/or development of coalitions, the media and media advocacy, and consumer advocates. The chapter addresses each of these strategies in greater depth. It outlines a variety of issues related to coalitions, group development, and coalition building for aging policies and programs.