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Aging and Health

The health status of a family in later life is a product of lifelong forces, genetics, behaviors, lifestyles, and access to a particular kind of health care system. There have been issues concerning a coherently financed, integrated, and accessible system of health care as the goal but the fundamental problem of paying for it remains unresolved. As human service and public service leaders, you need to come to terms with the question of whether health care is a right of citizenship (much as education and clean drinking water are) or a privilege (tied primarily to employment or economic resources) for families in later life. You as a human service and public service leader will face changes as you help families in later life with the new health care reform legislation, including new provisions for long-term care.

As a human service and public service leader take into consideration how the families you interviewed, the Riverbend family, and your personal experiences are impacted by the health status of an aging adult. Address the following in your discussion:

  1. When seeing two older individuals, one who is very healthy and active and one who is in poor health and quite frail, can you explain why they are so different? What family in later life issues such as life circumstances, individual choices, or random events helped to influence their health today?
  2. What do you think, as a human service and public service leader, are the most important health policy issues facing our aging nation? What are the most important health policy issues in older individuals' lives? What are the greatest challenges to our health care system?

Support your thoughts with sources from the current professional literature.

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