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Evolution of Programs and Services

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Evolution of Programs and Services
Vicki Sellers
HCS/310
June 16, 2014
Geraldine O'Neal

Evolution of Programs and Services
For many generations, care of the elderly has continually been the responsibility of various family members. The elderly individual needing care would generally stay in the home of their children or other relatives until their death like some still do today. In various cultures such as that of the Chinese and Japanese, their traditions dictate that caring for the elderly whether it be a parent or an uncle or aunt is a matter of honor and a way to show respect to their elderly. In some countries, especially impoverished ones, the care of the elderly continues to fall on the family because they have no financial means to seek other methods of care or no services are available where they live. Fortunately for those who live in countries such as the U.S., Europe and Australia, there are many services available to aid in the care of the elderly which gives family members other options and assistance as needed. Caring for the elderly consists of many different factors and can at times be impossible for those wanting to provide care for their loved ones at home. Financial factors and health factors are two of the most significant issues that determine how the elderly are cared for. Other factors hinge on whether or not the family member providing care has space in their own home, is able to arrange their schedule to provide that care, or already their own health issues that would prevent them from providing care to an elderly family member. Due to those circumstances, the services that are now in existence help in many ways with those decisions. In the past 50 years services have evolved in many ways which offer financial help, support, and outside care that has proven beneficial to the elderly as well as their loved ones.

One of the ways that services have evolved is how people can access services. The internet and social media is one area that has evolved over 50 years that grants greater access to seniors who are seeking any type of care. For those with computers, tablets, or cell phones, they can now have direct and more convenient access to care services provided by accessing information about physicians, health care providers, insurance, and other services they need. Advertising and marketing is another way that services have evolved in how the elderly are made aware of what is available. Providers of various long term services for the elderly are taking advantage of social media to reach a larger client base and help educate seniors about the services offered (Pratt, 2010). Other ways that services have evolved is with government programs being put into place to financially help them such as Medicare and Medicaid. Independent living, assisted living, and nursing care facilities have also evolved in the last 50 years as services that assist the elderly in their quality of life.

Medicare is a government funded program that was started in 1965 along with Medicaid under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson. Medicare was enacted to provide health insurance to individuals who were 65 and older and not be discriminated against due to income or medical history. Since Medicare’s inception, what is covered for these individuals has grown to include many other medical related problems. Medicare now includes coverage for speech, physical, and chiropractic therapy rather than just general doctor’s visits or check-ups. Medicare coverage is no longer limited to those 65 and older, but also covers those who are younger, have permanent disabilities, and who may also be collecting Social Security Disability benefits. While Medicare has widened its range of people who can be covered, and has seen many valuable changes for those who need these programs, with the amount of debt the government currently has, those who are now covered under Medicare and even Medicaid may see their coverage being limited due to the funding for these programs decreasing. One of the reasons this is happening is that the programs are finding hard to provide coverage for a growth in the population than what was initially realized (Pratt, 2010).

Types of long-term care and what is provided is another service that has evolved over the past 50 years. For example, 50 years ago and beyond, elderly people were more prone to be taken care of in the homes of their children or other relatives when they became unable to care for themselves. Now with the option of many housing options available to seniors, they are able to find other alternatives to their care than possibly being a burden to their families or adding extra responsibilities to family members who are not qualified to help them. However with community-based home care programs having evolved those who prefer to stay in their own home are able to stay with family members are able to do so. In home care services have also evolved in that family care givers can hire formal care givers to come in with their loved one to provide respite care, companionship, help with bathing, housekeeping, check-ups for those in bound and therapy services among many others.

Those needing care and the services that provide care have changed and grown over the past 50 years. The changes that have taken place in the past 50 years with the growing amount of services has had a positive impact in many ways on those needing these services and has also improved the quality of life and care of those receiving said services. With the baby boomer generation, there is an even greater influx of elderly individuals who need care. This will not only impact government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, but it will also affect health insurance, care providers, and the types of care that are currently available. The growing population of elderly and others needing care may find some services will continue to grow while others may decrease due to shortage of people, lack of funding, and other factors that may influence how these services are provided and will ultimately have a bearing on the delivery of care over all.

References
Foos, P., & Clark, M.C. (2008). Human Aging. (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon,
Pearson.

Pratt, J.R. (2010). Long-term care: Managing across the continuum. (3rd, ed.). Sudbury, M.A. Jones and Bartlett.…...

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