Programs need to change to meet both current and future needs. As communities change, so do the programs, services and systems change.
The older American population is increasingly diverse. As it grows in numbers, it also grows in racial, ethnic, economic, health, functionality, and housing diversity. Most older adults are relatively healthy, live at home in their communities, and rely on informal caregiver support when they need assistance. However, the fastest growing segment of the population are those who are over 85 years old and may need more community support.
Societal expectations, science, technology, media, healthcare, social services, home and community-based care, and long-term services and supports are also changing. An increasingly competitive environment for public and private funding means that programs need to provide more quality, patient-centered, effective, and efficient products and services. Their revenues must be enhanced through multiple funding streams and improved business acumen to keep up with evolving service needs and system changes.
An “summary version” of this issue is also available.