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 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.
This chapter deals with one subset of these strategies, namely using media as a part of the advocacy process. The chapter reviews a number of specific media advocacy strategies and provides some innovative approaches to sending a message relevant to program or policy development. Media advocacy is the strategic use of any form of media to help advance an organization’s objectives or goals. Media advocacy explores a number of key issues and serves to present strategies that can be helpful in the development of innovative human service opportunities and educate the general public. These strategies can be used as stand-alone methods or in combination with each other. These strategies build on understanding one’s health and help-seeking behavior and enable advocates to influence a wide number and array of people with limited resources and energy.
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.