Photograph of an older woman being assisted to walk to a car by two other women; photo source: Administration on Aging, DHHS Learning Activities

Advocacy Competency

Advocate for health, social, and financial needs of older adults at the policy level.

                                 

The learning activities for this competency require that you have previous background in health policy. You can determine whether or not you have the necessary background by taking the Politics and Policy Self-Assessment Test. If you score 75% or higher on the self-assessment, you are ready to proceed with the learning activities for this Older Adult Advocacy Competency. If you score less than 75% on the self-assessment test, please use one of the suggested methods below to build the necessary background before you proceed.

Photograph of a hand holding a letter to a policymaker

 

Introductory Video for the Advocacy Competency  

 

If you prefer, you can read a transcript of the video.

Take the Self-Assessment Test

Politics and Policy Self-Assessment Test Drawing of a question mark

Did you score less than 75%? Here are suggested resources for developing a health policy foundation before you proceed:

Did you score 75% or more? You are ready! Proceed with the learning activities.

Develop your Advocacy Competency by completing some or all of these learning activities. Choose the ones that are the most useful and appealing as you prepare to demonstrate your Advocacy Competency. You might want to explore them all, to see what resources are here for sharing with others in your work setting or community.

Overview of Learning Activities:  Learning Activities for the Advocacy Competency are divided into three major areas of focus:

Identify Health Policy Issues

Drawing of a group of people talking together

Interview Older Adults

Talk with a range of older adults about their health concerns. Talk with both frail and active older adults. Find them in at least three of the following settings:

Talk with an older adult who is a family caregiver for another older adult. What types of care do they provide? What resources are available to them? What are their concerns?

Drawing of a curved arrow that points at the next question.   What are health policy concerns for the older adults you interviewed?
Drawing of person taking notes during interview

Interview Nurses Who Work with Older Adults

Talk with nurses who work with older adults about health policy issues of concern to them. Talk with nurses in at least four of the following settings:

Drawing of a curved arrow that points at the next question.   What are these nurses' health policy concerns related to older adults?
Drawing of two professionals shaking hands before an interview

Interview Administrators of Older Adult Facilities or Agencies

Arrange to tour a local community care facility for older adults (skilled nursing, long-term care, or assisted living facility). Talk with the administrators about their concerns surrounding adequate staffing.

Visit your local Area Agency on Aging. Ask administrators and case managers what their concerns are related to health care policy and older adults.

Drawing of a curved arrow that points at the next question.   What are these administrators' health policy concerns related to older adults?
Picture of the letters http: Use the Internet to Identify Health Policy Issues 

Note: The internet links provided here were active at the time these Older Adult Focus Materials were prepared. If a link is no longer active, try searching for the same or similar content using the name of the organization or the title provided.

American Association of Retired Persons

http://www.aarp.org

The AARP is a powerful advocate for older adults.

American Nurses Association (ANA)

http://www.nursingworld.org

Click Government Affairs. Then click Federal Government Affairs. Click Issues in the center of the page.

  • Are any current issues listed that are related to older adults?

  • If so, what is the ANA stance on the issue?

Now go to the official geriatric nursing website of the American Nurses Association: http://www.geronurseonline.org

  • In the advocacy panel on the right, click Senate Committee on Aging

  • On the Senate Committee on Aging homepage, click the Issues tab. What issues are being addressed currently? How do they impact the health of older Americans?

                                 

Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

http://www.nursingworld.org/ojin

Volume 8, number 2 (2003) of the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing focused on the topic Health Care and the Aging Population. Find this issue by clicking on Table of Contents. Read at least one of the articles.

  • Which of these health care policy issues were mentioned by the older adults, nurses, or administrators you interviewed?
  • For one of the issues, what are the contributing factors? 
  • What are potential solutions? 
  • Look at the trade-offs inherent in various solutions to this issue.

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Examine Legislation and Publicly-Funded Resources

Choose one or two health policy issues and explore legislation and publicly-funded resources related to those issues. You will find some of these websites helpful.

Note: The internet links provided here were active at the time these Older Adult Focus Materials were prepared. If a link is no longer active, try searching for the same or similar content using the name of the organization or the title provided.

Older Americans Act

Read the Older Americans Act -- A Layman's Guide and answer the following questions:

  • What is SUA? PSA? AAA? How are they related?
  • What supportive services are authorized by Title III of the Older Americans Act?
  • In what ways does Title VII protect vulnerable older adults? 

           

Drawing of trees, water, and sky 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Aging Initiative

http://www.epa.gov/aging

  • Click on Frequently Asked Questions to find out what the Aging Initiative is.
  • What are some common environmental hazards that can affect the health of older adults?
  • Click on National Agenda to read about some of the issues regarding the environment and aging.

Medicare Website on Long-Term Care

http://www.medicare.gov/LongTermCare/Static/Home.asp

This consumer-oriented resource provides links to a range of federal programs. Click the Help and Support tab and then click Frequently Asked Questions to find the answers to the following questions:

  • How much does Medicare pay for a flu shot?
  • What preventive services does Medicare currently cover?
  • Why doesn't Medicare pay for dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses?
  • What can be done if a person cannot afford Medicare premiums?

           

Drawing of a group of policymakers

                 

Oregon Department of Human Services: Seniors Website

http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/spwpd/index.shtml/shtml

What state-funded resources for older adults can you find in the following areas?

  • Caregiving
  • Food 
  • Health
  • Legal
  • Support and advocacy
  • If you do not live in Oregon, search the internet to find similar information for your state.

Family Caregiving Alliance

http://www.caregiver.org

Use the Public Policy and Research tab to find Caregiving Across the States: A State-by-State Resource. Click on your state and examine the data about programs that offer caregiver support.

  • What are the eligibility requirements for the various programs?
  • Does your state have a task force or coalition specifically to examine family caregiver issues?

           

    Drawing of a person standing in front of three doors, considering the options

Assisted Living Housing Options

http://www.assistedlivinginfo.com

Enter your location to find the following:

  • How many assisted living facilities are located where you live?
  • Click Types of Care and then select Assisted Living.
    • What kinds of things to evaluate are listed on the Checklist
    • What Tips are offered to a person who is selecting an assisted living setting?

          

Oregon State Board of Nursing

http://www.osbn.state.or.us

Drawing of a nurse writing in a patient record

How long has it been since you looked at the Nurse Practice Act? Click on Nurse Practice Act: Scope of Practice and More.

  • Click on Division 47: RN Delegation of Nursing Tasks to Unlicensed Persons.
  • What must be documented when delegating a task to an unlicensed person?
  • Under what circumstances can a RN delegate the administration of intravenous medications to an unlicensed person?
  • If you do not live in Oregon, find the website for your State Board of Nursing and examine the delegation portion of the Nurse Practice Act under which you practice.

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Prepare to Advocate within the System

Note: The internet links provided here were active at the time these Older Adult Focus Materials were prepared. If a link is no longer active, try searching for the same or similar content using the name of the organization or the title provided.

American Nurses Association Governmental Website

http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAPoliticalPower/Federal/Testimony.aspx

  • Read examples of testimony to the U.S. Congress.
Drawing of the U.S. Congress building

Citizen's Guide to the Oregon Legislature

http://www.leg.state.or.us/citizenguide/home.htm

This site has useful information about legislative processes, even if you live outside Oregon. Click on How to Participate.

  • Use the Glossary of Legislative Terms to find out what the following terms mean:
    • Initiative
    • Note from mother
    • Sine die
  • Find the resources on presenting testimony.
  • Find the resources on writing to your legislator. 

                            Drawing of letters with envelopes                Drawing of computer sending email              Drawing of fax machine                                                                     

Oregon Blue Book

http://www.bluebook.state.or.us

If you live in Oregon, this site will be useful to you. Click on the Local tab. Then click on City Government.

  • If you live in or near an incorporated city, click on Cities, find yours, and read your Community Profile. If you live in an unincorporated area, click on Counties, find yours, and click on "County Quick Facts."
    • How many individuals age 65 and older are listed for your community?
    • What is the annual per capita personal income in your community?
    • What other useful information did you find about your community?

                                  

An older adult couple working on a jigsaw puzzle together

             

National Caucus and Center on Black Aged (NCBA)

http://www.ncba-aged.org

  • What is the purpose of this organization?
  • What are its advocacy activities?
  • How can individuals participate in these advocacy activities? 

National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)

http://www.nhcoa.org

  • What is the mission statement of this advocacy organization?
  • How can individuals participate in its advocacy activities? 
  • Explore the site to discover the purpose of the Amigos de la Familia program.

                        

National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA)

http://www.nicoa.org

  • What is the mission statement of this advocacy organization?
  • How does that mission differ from the mission of the National Hispanic Council on Aging?
  • Click on the Policy tab at the top of the screen after you enter the site, to see examples of testimony to influence policy decisions.

                     

Picture of an older woman playing solitaire (a card game)

Older Women's League (OWL)

http://www.owl-national.org

  • What is the mission of this advocacy organization?
  • How does it advocate for older women?
  • How can individuals participate these advocacy activities?
  • What are the OWL Mother's Day Reports?

                      

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program was introduced in the Complex Decisions Competency. Take another look at it, this time from a policy perspective. For the most current information on activities of this program, go to http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/AoA_Programs/Elder_Rights/Ombudsman/

  • How do you locate the long-term care ombudsman in your area?
  • When might you work with your state long-term care ombudsman to advocate for older adults? 

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After you have completed some or all of these Learning Activities, proceed to the Competency Demonstration.

Developed by J. Cartwright, C. Van Son, and L. Felver; Revised 2010