A Time to Be Old

Since 1988 the recommendations of a CHA Task Force on Long-Term Care Policy have helped guide activities to serve those addressing the needs of the continuum of care. The report, A Time to Be Old, a Time to Flourish: The Special Needs of the Elderly-at-Risk, helped provide the foundation for Catholic health care's commitment to the needs of the elderly and inspires advocacy efforts to reform health care to attend to the needs of the entire continuum of care.

The report cited three urgent reasons for the nation to address long-term care needs:

  1. The nation’s population, formerly youthful, was rapidly becoming an older adult population.
  2. Society was not doing an adequate job in meeting the needs of the frail elderly.
  3. A new and pernicious form of ageism had emerged, one that asked whether the elderly were still socially worthy recipients of governmental assistance.

The report recommended the following:

  • Catholic health care should strive to create a continuum of care that focuses on the client, includes a comprehensive range of services, and avoids competing and conflicting with other programs.
  • The Catholic Church should continue to be present at all levels of intervention on behalf of the elderly, especially those who are frail, alone, and poor.
  • Catholic health care should work to influence the delivery and management of services for the elderly-at-risk, recognizing the need to change the focus of health care delivery from an episodic, acute-disease, crisis orientation to a multilevel, integrated array of services that emphasizes prevention and rehabilitation.
  • Catholic health care leaders should work with Catholic and other providers and community and neighborhood organizations.

CHA and Catholic health care providers continue to address these goals through advocacy, collaboration, and education.