Supportive Services Programs in Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities. Limitations of Supportive Services Programs

A supportive services program can be a valuable community resource for older people, but it cannot be expected to take on the full burden of meeting the changing needs of aging residents. For example, most programs we visited had identified physical and environmental hindrances to older residents' mobility and independence. Services programs can perform a useful service for the community by cataloguing such constraints, and solutions to some problems, such as individual apartment and home modifications, may logically fall within the purview of a services program. Other problems, such as better street signage to aid older drivers or paved sidewalks to facilitate pedestrian access, may be better addressed by public institutions within the larger community. Services programs can contribute to resolving such issues by educating the community about areas of particular concern to older residents, participating in coalitions of community stakeholders, and advocating on behalf of older residents. These programs can avoid spreading their resources too thin, however, by limiting their own projects to those that address issues within their scope of work or expertise.

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