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.
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 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 provides a backdrop to our current social security program and an overview of some models for social security programs in Europe and Canada. It explores the genesis of the social program in the United States. The chapter also explores contents of the original social security act (SSA) and compares the titles and programs mandated through the current SSA. It offers some guidelines for the current administration of the program, examines the debate around current proposals for revision, and reviews why these proposals are current issues for consideration. The chapter then presents the current social security system, which provides for older adults, but has also grown to cover dependent women and children. Although many people have argued for their vision to privatize the system, the reality is that there is much more political support to maintain the program as a safety net program rather than a means-tested program.