The health status of a family in later life is a product of lifelong forces, genetics, behaviors, lifestyles, and access to a particular kind of health care system. There have been issues concerning a coherently financed, integrated, and accessible system of health care as the goal but the fundamental problem of paying for it remains unresolved. As human service and public service leaders, you need to come to terms with the question of whether health care is a right of citizenship (much as education and clean drinking water are) or a privilege (tied primarily to employment or economic resources) for families in later life. You as a human service and public service leader will face changes as you help families in later life with the new health care reform legislation, including new provisions for long-term care.
As a human service and public service leader take into consideration how the families you interviewed, the Riverbend family, and your personal experiences are impacted by the health status of an aging adult. Address the following in your discussion:
Support your thoughts with sources from the current professional literature.
In the realm of policy, a family in later life is both a participant in and subject (collectively) of debate. This extends from being voters and participants in programs such as Medicare and Social Security to holding high electoral office. Will families in later life continue to be a focal category for social policy, or will crosscutting issues such as social class, health, or race/ethnicity prove more politically powerful as the foci for societal intervention? Should age become less salient as a criterion for policy, families in later life could find themselves vying with younger poor persons for limited societal resources. The issues are much more complex than just the growing old-age dependency ratio. Political commitments and public attitudes, which have largely favored societal attention to the needs of the family in later life, are potent forces in shaping how collective resources are allocated.
Based on the course materials and your experiences as a human service and public service leader, discuss issues as they relate to the family in later life. Address the following:
Support your thoughts with references from current professional literature.
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