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Advocacy is vital to improving the living conditions of people because it serves as a connection between communities and the government. It allows people from underserved and vulnerable groups to voice their needs and suggest actions that will help them to have a meaningful and fulfilling life. For example, the senior population has specific health-related concerns that need to be addressed in the field of healthcare. In the state of New Jersey, multiple organizations work with older adults to solve their problems. Two of these entities are Alzheimer’s New Jersey and Seniors-4-Seniors (S4S). The present paper will discuss these organizations and their current projects and aims. It will introduce new advocacy actions and policy to further improve the wellbeing of senior citizens in the state.
The first advocacy organization is Alzheimer’s New Jersey, formerly known as the Greater New Jersey Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2015, the agency disaffiliated itself from the larger national organization to focus on the needs of the state’s population and preserve its independence (Alzheimer’s New Jersey, 2019a). Currently, the entity focuses on providing support, consultations, awareness-raising, and education for seniors and health care providers working with Alzheimer’s. Around 600,000 people have this condition in New Jersey, and the number increases every day due to the lack of research, awareness, and prevention strategies (Alzheimer’s New Jersey, 2019a). One of the latest campaigns developed by Alzheimer’s New Jersey is Walk to Fight Alzheimer’s – a fundraiser for the agency’s other programs (Alzheimer’s New Jersey, 2019b). It covers many areas in the state and allows residents to participate in local walks.
The second entity is Seniors-4-Seniors (S4S), an educational program created by the Commission of Accreditation for Home Care. Its main goal is to empower older citizens of New Jersey, urging them to assume the role of an advocate for their community (“S4S,” 2018). S4S provides education through classes for the elderly, which results in senior-led awareness campaigns about the needs of the population. As a result, the organization’s projects are continuously developed by its students.
Advocacy Actions and New Policy
While the discussed organizations have a variety of programs to assist the community, some other strategies may be proposed to improve senior health. In the case of Alzheimer’s New Jersey, the agency can raise awareness about abuse that seniors with Alzheimer’s may encounter in their daily life (Resnick, 2016). This problem is present in the older population as a whole. However, people’s memory and cognition impairment can further contribute to the severity of physical and emotional abuse in families and care facilities (Holroyd-Leduc & Reddy, 2012). This project could be the extension of the organization’s Always Safe program.
For S4S, the suggested action is to work with the regional community resources to find potential leaders that could complete the empowerment training and become a voice in their small group. This collaboration should target minority groups that are often unaware of such opportunities as the one that S4S presents (Dilworth-Anderson, Pierre, & Hilliard, 2012). As for policy, the introduction of senior leaders into the decision-making process for future changes should be proposed as a policy for the state. Educated and empowered older adults may show which aspects of healthcare are currently lacking in quality, using their connections and experiences to enhance community feedback.
Advocacy for underserved populations can benefit from including the members of these communities into the discussion. Therefore, empowerment and communication projects serve as a tool for improving the situation in the state. In New Jersey, such organizations as Alzheimer’s New Jersey and S4S educate and support older adults. Their future projects should integrate discussions about topics such as abuse and collaborate with other entities to promote senior leaders’ input.
Alzheimer’s New Jersey. (2019a). About us. Web.
Alzheimer’s New Jersey. (2019b). Walk to Fight Alzheimer’s. Web.
Dilworth-Anderson, P., Pierre, G., & Hilliard, T. S. (2012). Social justice, health disparities, and culture in the care of the elderly. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 40(1), 26–32.
Holroyd-Leduc, J., & Reddy, M. (Eds.). (2012). Evidence-based geriatric medicine: A practical clinical guide. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell Publishing.
Resnick, B. (Ed.). (2016). Geriatric nursing review syllabus: A core curriculum in advanced practice geriatric nursing (5th ed.). New York, NY: American Geriatrics Society.
S4S – Seniors for seniors advocacy. (2018). Web.