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The Older Americans Act’s Critique

Older Americans are an important part of American society because of their contribution to the economy through adding vital experience and voluntary service as community work. However, they face several challenges to their health and financial status due to their old age. The Older Americans Act was enacted in 1965 as a legislative framework to educate, provide nutrition and assist older people. The act has faced several problems in the course of its implementation because of the different nature of older people’s requirements. Elder abuse is causing physical, social and economical injury to the older age. Neglect is a failure by any person or a group of people to provide care that is provided by law for older people. Although the act is clear, older people have been neglected in the process through the set programs under the act. The act is not clear on how to protect older people from financial theft and exploitation when they are denied the use of their property. The act allows older people with 60 years and above to be covered by the act without basing on their background and income status. The income level of older people differs and the act ought to have different categories based on an individual’s financial background (Park, 2010).

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The program was developed under the OAA to improve the quality of family care through seniors providing care to older people. The program is also mandated to distribute funds to older people proportionally based on the number of people above 70 years old. Here, the program has ignored the population of older people over 60 years old covered by the provisions of the act. The best care is provided by the family; therefore, the seniors hired by the program do not meet the long-term demands. As a result, they contribute to conflicts with the families (Park, 2010). Again, the program uses caregivers who are over 50 years who later develop health problems.

The program was established to provide education and counseling to older people to promote mental health. This is done by providing grants based on the proportion of older people above 60 years in older centers. Older people require a different psychological education for each category, but the program is general. Also, the program gives priority to medically under-served regions than in cities and urban centers. Psychological counseling should be given more attention because older people have developmental problems, but it is not effectively covered by the program.

The program aims at providing accessible nutritional and educational services to older people at home or the centers. This is achieved through providing food and education on diseases that can be reduced through proper feeding. However, the program does not cater to the increased needs of the poor in the rural areas or the poor due to transport problems (Park, 2010). More funds and resources should be allocated to the rural areas and for those older people who cannot move. The program ought to have used family members to provide the care because it is the only sure method to ensure that all older people access the program. Grants provided for this program are meant to cater for food only although proper nutrition requires nutritional education to reduce nutritional diseases. The biased allocation of resources makes it complicated to achieve healthy nutrition for older people.

Reference

Park, N. (2010). Transportation difficulty of black and white rural older adults. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 29(1), 70-88.

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