chapter  3
42 Pages

Public Policies for a Graying America: Medicare, the Older Americans Act, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income

WithDavid A. Rochefort

This chapter presents an alternative theoretical approach centered on new perceptions of old age and the process of aging that came into prominence in American society by the mid-1960s. For comparative purposes, the discussion within follows the same blueprint of background analysis that organized the previous case study on the development of community mental health legislation. Contemporary analysts identified multiple causes of poverty among the poor. For some elderly the situation transcended age-specific social processes because it marked the continuation of a lifelong pattern or resulted from systemic economic conditions like structural employment. But for others, it reflected the special quality of growing old in America. Political and social organization among the elderly was another notable background element of the 1950s and 1960s. Interestingly, most of the early impetus for this movement came from sources other than the elderly.