The Evolution of Programs and Services for the Aging Population over the

TheEvolution of Programs and Services for the Aging Population over theLast 50 Years

TheEvolution of Programs and Services for the Aging Population over theLast 50 Years

Theperiod between 1960 and 1970 was characterized by social unrest,which was caused by mass demonstrations and student protests. Duringthis period, many individuals and organizations desired that civilrights should be extended to all people without discriminationagainst persons on the basis of their age, race, religion, sexualorientation, or any other social characteristic (Day, 2014). Althoughthe period was popularly known as the decade of sexual revolution, itmarked the beginning of intensive advocacy for the rights of theelderly members of the society, whose special needs (such aslong-term care) had been ignored for centuries. This paper willprovide a discussion of how programs and services for the seniormembers of the society evolved from the 1960s to date. In addition,the paper will address the evolution of the program forAdministration on Aging and the Supportive Housing for the Elderlywith a focus on changes they have undergone since theirestablishment.

Anoverview of the evolution of programs and services for the elderly

Thegovernment and non-governmental organizations had initiated programsthat addressed the needs of the elderly before the 1960s. However,social unrest and demand for the extension of rights all people pavedway for the establishment of more programs and services that wouldensure that all needs of the elderly people are taken care of. TheSocial Security Administration was the first program that wasre-addressed between 1960 and 1961 (Administration on Aging, 2014).The main objective was to liberalize the retirement test by loweringthe retirement age from 65 to 62 years. In 1965, the government foundthe need to protect the rights of the elderly people throughlegislation. This resulted in the creation of the Older AmericansAct, which was enacted in July 1965 (Day, 2014). In 1974, SocialSecurity Act was amended with the objective of allowing the federalgovernment to issue grants to states. These funds would allow statesto provide more social services (including nutritional assistance,protective services, information, and health support) to the elderly(Administration on Aging, 2014). Inthesame year (1974), theHousing and Community Development Act was enacted to provide housingthe low income elderly people.

In1987, the increase in life expectancy and demand for special care forthe elderly people necessitated the establishment of homes for theelderly (Administration on Aging, 2014). This was achieved throughthe formation of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The actprovided for reforms in the nursing homes in areas of pre-admissionscreening, nursing aid training, and certification procedures. In2003, Medicare Prescription Drug Program, Improvement, andmodernization Act was enacted to ensure that the special needs of theelderly were addressed comprehensively. This was further reinforcedby the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program, which went intoeffect in 2006 (Administration on Aging, 2014). The establishment ofthe Community Living Assistance and Support Program (CLASS), whichwas formed in 2006, is one of the most recent programs to be enactedwith the objective of serving the senior members of the society muchbetter. In overall, there are many programs and services for theelderly that have been started within the last 50 years, some ofwhich have been accomplished through legislation.

Evolutionof two programs and services for the elderly

TheSupportive Housing for the Elderly

Beforethe 1970s, the elderly people were not considered to be a charitableclass. However, the crisis period (1960-1970) highlighted on theissue of the growing need to house the elderly (Kastenberg &ampChasin, 2004). This has been accomplished by pursuing the provisionsof the Housing Act and extending its requirements to cover theelderly. For example, the act allowed the government to facilitatethe housing program for the elderly through direct loans and rentalassistance. Both the government and non-governmental organizationshave been expanding the seniors housing program, and it currentlycovers many housing options, such as senior only complexes, modularhome communities, shared housing, and assisted living homes amongothers (Kastenberg &amp Chasin, 2004).

Programfor the Administration on Aging

Theprogram for the Administration on Aging was initiated through theestablishment of the Older Americans Act in 1965 (Day, 2014).Administration on Aging is responsible for community-based as well ashome-based services that are directly related to aging. The scope ofthis program has been increased through amendments of the OlderAmericans Act since 1965 to-date. Enactment of the Older AmericansAct called for the formation of the State Units on Aging toadminister the affairs of the senior members of the society. In 1967,the Older Americans Act was amended and extended to help thegovernment address personnel needs in the entire field of aging. In1972, Title VII was added to the Older Americans Act to provide fundsfor nutritional programs that focus on the elderly. In 1975, theOlder Americans Act was further amended to authorize funds for IndianTribal Organizations (Administration on Aging, 2014). This wouldboost the programs for the Administration on Aging by addressing thetransportation needs, legal services, and home care services for theelderly members of the Indian community. The most recent amendmentsmade in 2006 expanded the services provided under the program for theAdministration on Aging by including provision of information aboutlong-term care planning, self-directed community-based services, andevidence-based prevention programs (Administration on Aging, 2014).This implies that the Administration on Aging is mainly supported bylegislation, especially the Older Americans Act.


Theoccurrence of social unrest in the 1960 provided an opportunity forthe government and non-governmental agencies to address the needs ofthe older members of the society. Since then, many programs andservices that focus on the needs of the seniors have been started.Most of the programs and services for the elderly were authorized byacts of parliament. The main services provided under programs forolder adults include preventive care, nutritional services, housing,and long-term care among others. Although the Elderly Housing Programwas started before the 1970s, it has been expanded within the last 50years through legislation. The Administration on Aging program hasmainly been reinforced through the Older Americans Act.


Administrationon Aging (2014). Historical evolution of programs for older adults.Administrationon Aging.Retrieved July 12, 2014, from

Day,T. (2014). Aboutthe National Aging Network.Centerville, UT: National Care Planning Council.

Kastenberg,C. &amp Chasin, J. (2004). Elderlyhousing. Washington,DC: Internal Revenue Service.