The demographic trends that will have an influential impact on the needs of human services in the future will be growth and change in the populations of seniors. Person 65 and over is expected to double in size within the next 25 years in the United States population. According the (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009), Hispanic older adults is likely to go from 2.2 million in 2004 to over 15 million by 2050. It is expected to be the largest minority amongst older people by 2028. Some current trends of human service delivery that will be impacted and accentuated will be among seniors. There will be more women than men, have increased educational levels, they will probably lead active lives, live independent and be more healthy. Changes in the population will have challenges for human services during the next 50 years. Some areas will be income assistance, health care, housing, employment, the way we take part in leisure opportunities and environmental modification.
The real median income for older citizens fell 2.8% for men and 3.6% for women and incomes are expected to keep declining. Human services such as mobile meal delivery and home health care make it easy for many older individuals to stay in the homes that they own or rent. Many would like to “age in place”. Older Americans are choosing to not live with their adult children; they do not want to lose their independence. Assisted living institutions help the aged to obtain and keep their independence. They keep their personal space and have social services to aid them with leisure activities, social support and cultural values. As we enter the Human Service profession we will see clients and other professionals who are different from ourselves. They were raised in other countries, have different economic backgrounds, speak various languages and be of various ages and genders.
They would have entered the United States under unique circumstances. Human Services are available to more clients of diversified natures in rural areas, the military, schools and the work place for which all of these increase clients who will need these services and the professionals who can provide them. Community-based services were first introduced to clients with mental illness and who were deinstitutionalized. Today the criminal justice system, the developmentally disabled and seniors are all a part of these services. In rural areas there will always be barriers of service delivery which include limited availability of workers, distances between clients and those who provide the services, cost, and issues of confidentiality and in what way the care will be carried out. We as a society must find ways to tackle and progress towards a solution to keep these barriers from overwhelming us to prevent the human services that are so badly needed by many. The following is from (An Introduction to Human Services, Chapter 3).
Table 3.3 Summary Points & Trends
The effect of urbanization in poor countries will contribute to create difficulties in meeting the basic needs of people. Demographic shifts in the United States raise questions about immigration policies, language, employment and entitlement programs. One important shift is the growth and change of the older population, which indicates an increase in the number of seniors as well as changes in characteristics. Economic downturns create human service challenges for individuals and families. Clients will remain active participants in human service delivery. Advocacy as a helping skill continues to increasingly important. The Mental Health Patient’s Bill of Rights covers issues such as the right to know, confidentiality, choice, determination of treatment, nondiscrimination and treatment review. Through the use of all professionals equally sharing the burden of distributing these services as needed, will depend on the cooperation of all those involved whether it is direct contact or through the use of referrals of other organizations.
An Introduction of Human Services, Seventh Edition, Chapter 3, Human Services Today. The U.S. Census Bureau (2009)
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