A Handbook of Community Services For the Elderly in Guadalupe County
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The elderly is the fastest growing group in the United States. As people grow older, they gradually experience physical and cognitive impairments. Their needs are like any other people, but their ability to care for themselves starts to decline. In order to promote independence and self determination, legislators enacted statutes to assist the elderly to remain in their homes, such as the Social Security Act of 1935 and the Older Americans Act of 1965. These two pieces of legislation were the hallmark that led to a wide range of services for the elderly, administered by different agencies throughout the nation. Given the patchwork system, one would expect problems with accessing information about services available for the elderly, as funding for those programs comes from different sources. To this effect, a test was conducted in Guadalupe County. The results were as follows, (1) programs that provide information, such as the Informal and Referral Network, are only accessible in metropolitan areas, (2) similar services are provided by different agencies, (3) there is a lack of coordination of services, (4) staff is not trained to facilitate access, (5) information is not easily accessible at the local level. (6) No one or any local agency has the responsibility to prepare a comprehensive list of services for the elderly in Guadalupe County. As result, the elderly population and their caregivers in Guadalupe County do not have easy access to reliable information about services available in the community. The purpose of this research is to fulfill the gap that exists in Guadalupe County due to the lack of information about services available to the elderly. This paper is twofold, (1) to create a Needs-Model Framework to organize services available in Guadalupe County, and (2) to prepare a comprehensive Handbook for the elderly, their caregivers and professional staff that matches the needs of the elderly to services available in the area. The next section of this chapter introduces the organization of the paper.