Assisting the Elderly Population's Quest for Independence.
Assisting the elderly (age 65 and older) population in maintaining their independence has become a national issue. Recognition of the social, financial, health and emotional issues involved in caring for the elderly began in the 1940's. Social workers and nurses began their enlightenment of the problem within the inner cities of America and during the next decade extended to include rural areas as well. Being a public health issue, it incorporates nursing and social work professionals (Netting, Huber, Paton, Kautz, 1995). By combining their efforts these disciplines were able to develop The National Council on the Aging. This council along with dedicated persevering on behalf of social workers and nurses led to the development of senior citizens centers across the United States. This council is also the driving force that lobbied and was successful in passage of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (Takamura, 1999). .
The Older Americans Act has been revised on a yearly basis since it's conception in congress. It is financed by the tax dollars of the United States citizens, therefore it is scrutinized yearly for budget appropriations and budget cuts by congress. The original purpose of the act was.
" To Provide assistance in the development of new or improved programs to help older persons through grants to the States for community planning and services for training, through research, development, or training project grants, and to establish within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare an operating agency to be designated as the Administration on Aging" (U.S. Government document, 1966). .
This legislation places the burden upon the individual States to develop their own resources to meet the needs of the elderly. Budgets for each state agency differs on demographical and economical trends. .
The population of persons 65 years and older in America is expected to double in the next 50 years.