Service Agencies and Programs for Older Adults come in all sizes and shapes. Some are more global in scope, others are condition-specific. A holistic approach across services is desirable for a continuum in many communities, though may vary by region, culture, custom. Students become fluent in describing and discussing programs, services and agencies that serve and are served by senior citizens around the world, requirements, qualifications (need-based, income-based) and funding sources, as appropriate. Additionally, a variety of programs in numerous countries and regions will be discussed and critiqued. Students gain skill in identifying categories, funding sources, goals, target audiences and other components of programs and agencies. Students will learn to review and assess program and service goals and objectives.
Understanding the various infrastructures that support, fund and govern provision of specific programs and services is invaluable for the student participant, whether vocational, ministry, missions and/or volunteer involvement. Due to the globally increasing numbers of elderly persons, understanding of the existing programs and services is paramount in order to know where gaps may exist, what funding resources additionally may be sought, staffing and service needs exist.
Aging programs and services due well to be continually evaluated for currency and relevance. As the aging population moves through the 55 or 65+ to 100+ years old, what is expected and acceptable, the health and SES status of the cohorts may shift. With shifts in these and other areas, regularly retooling programs and services are in order. Students with a strong grasp of programmatic goals, funding sources, needs of the aging population are in good stead to be a part of modifying and leading programs and services for global and niche older populations.
The Scripture includes description of what was accepted protocol if the family of the individual was not able to care for an elder, arrangement was made for another to care for, most often through the church or extended family.
In order to be missional, programs and services are to be designed to be relational, to help the intended recipients (rather than harm), and to be exemplary of His hands and feet to the target group being served. God is a God of order and Kingdom economies. He likes for one “thing” to serve multiple purposes, does not condone redundancies, and supports service to the last, lost and least of which the elderly seem to be in many cultures.
Needs of the elderly in terms of service and serving will vary by community, county, state, region, country. Awareness of perceptions across a variety of cultures enables students to function optimally and seamlessly between professional, missions and volunteer capacity
Aging is a universal occurrence. Programs and services must be designed and provided in a way that is acceptable to the intended recipients, and sustainable with resources at hand. Aging is no respecter of culture, language, geographic location.
Any program or service does well to be practical in administration, data collection, collaboration and in meeting the needs of community health.
Understanding and participating in programs and services engaging with program recipients and workers in the community facilitates student learning process and transforms from knowledge to skill at a level that is sensitive to providers and recipients of the program services.