Care of and services for the aging received increased study and attention after 1950. Standardization and professionalization of services developed. substantial enrichment of services and care resulted, esp. through alternatives to institutional care that allow older person to stay in their own home or immediate community.
Homes for the aging experienced some administrative and financial difficulties. Old Age Assistance and Old Age Survivors Ins. provisions of the Soc. Security Act of 1935 (later extended and repeatedly amended) aided many in making payments toward cost of their care but also increased the possibilities for indep. living and for postponing applications for institutionalized care until the aging are in need of specialized and expensive nursing care. Few homes for the aging had been built and equipped or were well enough supported to provide specialized and expensive care or to expand facilities. Many proprietary nursing homes mushroomed; but without charitable contributions and tax exemption they tended to provide only substandard care. Fed. and state legislatures made provision for payment of extended medical care and est. standards for licensing, medical care, and soc. services that help prevent exploitation. Increased life span and corresponding increase in the aging population multiplied the need not for facilities and services but also for suitable and sufficient housing within the means of an aging and infirm population. Governmentally encouraged urban renewal housing programs included many apartments geared to the needs and income of aging couples; loans and grants were made through FHA and the Community Facilities Administration to voluntary and pub. groups to help meet housing and nursery care needs.
Surveys indicate that most older people prefer to remain in their own home as long as possible rather than in housing projects restricted to people of their own age, that four fifths of people over 65 are completely able to live independently in ordinary housing in the community, that more good housing would meet the needs of these aging better than institutions, and that special housing should emphasize community life.
The modern home for the aged has been converting its facilities to include nursing care and to enrich services by providing alternatives to institutional living either by direct extension of its services or by referral to and use of other agencies and new services. Alternatives that help make early and complete institutionalization unnecessary include:
Implications of this philos. are widely recognized. Largely relieved of the fear of lack of care in illnesses or emergencies, the aging and infirm now seek to stay near their families or friends and in their own familiar environment, to remain as normally active and useful as possible, and, if Christian, to enjoy the fellowship of their home cong. and own pastoral care. Communities and chs. try to retain the services, experience, capacities, and wisdom of the aging and infirm.
Sound professional consultation is essential for organizations planning new facilities and programming. A growing body of experience and knowledge, rapid urban and rural pop. changes, and new and changing criteria and developments in the building and service field require careful consideration. Voluntary and govt. agencies and organizations engaged in studies, in programming and standard setting, and in the production of materials available to those interested in services to the aging and infirm have included the Nat. Council on the Aging, the Am. Assoc. of Homes for the Aging, the Am. Pub. Welfare Assoc., the Committee on Aging of the A. M. A., the Dept. of Health, Educ., and Welfare, the U. S. Pub. Health Service, and the President's Council on Aging. Most of them have counterparts at regional, state, and local levels. AHB
Sources of further information include the U. S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, 330 Independence Ave., S. W., Washington, DC 20201; Board for social Ministry Services, The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod, 1333 S. Kirkwood Rd., St. Louis, MO 63122; Lutheran Council in the U. S. (A.), 315 Park Ave. South, New York, New York 10010; The American Lutheran Church, 422 S. Fifth St., Minneapolis, MN 55415; Lutheran Church in America, 231 Madison Ave., New York, New York 10016; Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 3512 W. North Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53208; American Nursing Home Association, 1025 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 607, Washington, DC 20036.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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