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Family in Later Life: Politics and Government

In the realm of policy, a family in later life is both a participant in and subject (collectively) of debate. This extends from being voters and participants in programs such as Medicare and Social Security to holding high electoral office. Will families in later life continue to be a focal category for social policy, or will crosscutting issues such as social class, health, or race/ethnicity prove more politically powerful as the foci for societal intervention? Should age become less salient as a criterion for policy, families in later life could find themselves vying with younger poor persons for limited societal resources. The issues are much more complex than just the growing old-age dependency ratio. Political commitments and public attitudes, which have largely favored societal attention to the needs of the family in later life, are potent forces in shaping how collective resources are allocated.

Based on the course materials and your experiences as a human service and public service leader, discuss issues as they relate to the family in later life. Address the following:

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  1. Period effects are thought to influence both individuals’ political party affiliation and their confidence in social institutions, such as the government. Thinking about your life and history, what are some of the events that you might expect would have a significant effect on these political views?
  2. What are your thoughts as a human service leader and public service leader on need-based entitlements, rather than age-based ones? What major programs would this influence? How would changes in these programs to need-based entitlement influence your neighbors, family, and friends?

Support your thoughts with references from current professional literature


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