Florida is a state with a very high population of senior citizens (“Population and demographic data,” 2017). People are either living on their own or in retirement homes, and communities often require additional care. This fact makes elderly care one of the most important issues in the state. Despite the various social programs created to improve elderly care across the country, there are still issues that can be solved through a policy change either on the federal or the state level. The primary issue lies in the unfortunate phenomenon of senior citizens being denied assistance during macro social work due to the funds they have saved throughout their lives (Netting, Kettner, McMurtry, & Thomas, 2016).
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Background of the Issue
The reason for this issue comes from the way of cutoff calculation that non-profit macro social organizations utilize when creating lists of eligible receivers. The calculations are based on income eligibility of the people seeking help. The primary targets for macro social organizations are people in a deep state of destitution and poverty. This is a reasonable decision, as the funding provided from the sources is very limited and a large amount of people requires help to gain access to healthcare and even basic food products.
These organizations do provide assistance to people outside of the dire straits, but the slots are not numerous and become filled almost instantly. Seniors often have money that they saved over the years, but it is rarely enough to carry them for long due to the increased health issues that were previously unobserved. This can result in savings being spent too fast, while still keeping income eligibility. There exist nationwide policies that are designed to reduce these costs, but they are limited in effect and do not prevent this issue. The current policy forces seniors to seek alternative organizations that could be unavailable to them. This policy decreases the number of people who can receive health care and makes access to healthcare harder for people at risk (Netting et al., 2016).
There are two groups of stakeholders in the presented issue: seniors and macro-social organizations. Seniors are represented by older adults who have lost their support system such as relatives, but still, have income eligibility which prevents them from receiving help from social organizations. Macro social organizations are focused on assisting people who cannot afford healthcare, food, or similar commodities. They would be the primary support for the change in this case (Evertsson & Rosengren, 2014).
Possible Methods of Addressing the Issue
This issue could be addressed in two ways. The first would be through the creation of a new federal policy that would create a new category of people at risk. Although the elderly population is often considered to be “at risk,” this definition is usually too broad to consider the intricacies of the situation. Not all seniors live in the same conditions, and the issues they face in their daily life can also vary depending on the previous lifestyle. This is partially why this issue exists macro social organizations are designed to assist a larger scale, which makes them consider demographics of the region before making any financial decisions. Seniors fall into one category and if they are income-eligible, then the priority shifts to other people. A possible solution would include the creation of new risk assessment guidelines for such organizations (Lee & Chou, 2015; Navicke, Rastrigina & Sutherland, 2013).
The new guidelines in the policy could be based on various factors that could put senior citizens in the state of poverty shortly. These factors could include medical conditions, availability of facility members, habits that can be dangerous to people’s health, and others. By examining these factors, macro social organizations will be able to provide support to more people in need.
Another method of addressing this issue could come from the reconsideration of income eligibility based calculations. Currently, several alternative social organizations exist that do not utilize this type of calculation. By adopting one of the possible alternative solutions, these organizations could expand their operation further than before (Padgett, 2016).
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Goal and Option of Changes
The goal of these changes is to provide help to a group of seniors that often becomes unnoticed due to association with the larger group. The presented options of changes can be executed both on the state and federal levels. The option for state policy becomes likely as Florida is a state with a large senior citizen population. However, by instituting a federal policy, this issue could be addressed on a much wider scale.
Risks and Benefits of the Changes
The main risk of these changes lies in the possible miscalculations due to the complexity of the factors that are being analyzed. Despite the simplicity of the idea, human behavior and prospects are rarely easily predicted, and to properly examine a great number of people, simplified algorithms would have to be involved. Another risk might be in detracting attention from people living in poverty. To avoid it, people living in such conditions should always be prioritized by such organizations.
The benefits of these changes, however, could have a tremendous effect on the lives of the elderly. By avoiding the fall into poverty, seniors are less likely to gain new health problems and are more likely to recover from current ailments because of the steady intake of medication. On both state and federal levels, it could lead to a decrease in poverty rates and would create a positive awareness of the macro social organizations (Ferrarini, Nelson & Palme, 2016).
The success of this policy change could be evaluated by examining the trends of poverty among senior citizens before and after the policy implementation. To gain a clear picture, the testing period would have to be multiple years long. If the number of seniors affected by this issue does not decrease with time, then the policy requires additional development and does not have a positive effect on the population (Posavac, 2015).
Before such policies are implemented federally or state-wide, a smaller scale test of the policy should take place. A small community with a large senior citizen population should be taken as a control group for this policy. This would help the policymakers recognize any issues that it might present in the future. If any clear issues are found, they should be corrected before further implementation (Lingard, Martino & Rezai-Rashti, 2013).
Elderly care in the state of Florida is extremely important. The state is often the choice for the retirement of many American citizens. Therefore its service of seniors should be exemplary. However, currently, it is impossible to find whether certain seniors are more at risk than others, which should prompt the creation of new policies.
Evertsson, P., & Rosengren, K. (2014). Political experiences of changing the focus in elderly care in one municipality. Journal of Nursing Management, 23(8), 994-1002.
Ferrarini, T., Nelson, K., & Palme, J. (2016). Social transfers and poverty in middle- and high-income countries – a global perspective. Global Social Policy, 16(1), 22-46.
Lee, S., & Chou, K. (2015). Trends in elderly poverty in Hong Kong: A decomposition analysis. Social Indicators Research, 129(2), 551-564.
Lingard, B., Martino, W., & Rezai-Rashti, G. (2013). Testing regimes, accountabilities and education policy: commensurate global and national developments. Journal of Education Policy, 28(5), 539-556.
Navicke, J., Rastrigina, O., & Sutherland, H. (2013). Nowcasting indicators of poverty risk in the European Union: A microsimulation approach. Social Indicators Research, 119(1), 101-119.
Netting, F.E., Kettner, P.M., McMurtry, S.L. & Thomas, M. L. (2016). Social work macro practice. (6th ed.). New York: Pearson Education, Inc.
Padgett, D. (2016). Qualitative methods in social work research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Population and demographic data. (2017). Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
Posavac, E. (2015). Program evaluation: Methods and case studies. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
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