First Advisor

Margaret Neal

Term of Graduation

Spring 2013

Date of Publication

Spring 7-19-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




People with disabilities -- Services for -- Oregon, People with disabilities -- Counseling of -- Oregon, Older people -- Services for -- Oregon, Older people -- Counseling of -- Oregon, Community health services for older people, Community health services for people with disabilities -- Oregon



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 146 pages)


This thesis reports on the perspectives and experiences of policymakers, advocates, agency supervisors, and experts in the field of gerontology, about the development of Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) programs and Options Counseling (OC). By examining the foundations upon which ADRCs and OC are built, this study sought to inform future research about the effectiveness of existing practice, increase understanding of best practices, and clarify whether these emerging services are accomplishing original goals.

ADRCs and OC intend to address long-term care issues and healthcare needs by providing a single entry point to the social service system. ADRCs offer information, assistance, and OC to people of all ages, incomes, and disabilities, and promote long-term care options that honor independence and respect for the needs and preferences of individuals, their families, and caregivers. They are the latest iteration of policymakers' efforts to provide affordable home-and community-based care for older persons and their caregivers.

A total of fifteen qualitative interviews were conducted and analyzed using grounded theory methods. Key persons interviewed included experts in the area of aging, aging policy, and aging. Participants were recruited through referrals suggested by Portland State University's (PSU) Institute on Aging (IOA) staff. In addition, several key experts known to the researcher through affiliation with PSU's IOA agreed to be interviewed. Snowball sampling was then used to locate additional key experts.

Interview participants were classified as advocates, state decision makers, policy makers, or academicians. Advocates included national and state directors of agencies that promote the development and management of effective services to aging adults. State decision makers included state directors, ADRC directors and supervisors, and program analysts. Policy makers interviewed were national program directors responsible for shaping the future of developing programs to assist older adults. Academicians who participated in the study have been instrumental in developing and researching practices that promote well-being for the aging and the aged. These key experts were selected based on their knowledge and ability to inform the strengths, weakness, and development of ADRCs and Options Counseling. Many have been instrumental in health and aging policy and service development and research, and possess insider knowledge not available to the general public regarding attitudes and interests motivating the actors.

Findings indicate that ADRCs and OC are designed to manage within existing social service systems. They can benefit some individuals by providing more options and support in accessing public and private services. It remains to be seen whether they have the capacity to ameliorate some existing system-level problems. Findings highlight program strengths and weaknesses, sustainability issues, and policymakers, state decision makers', and providers' commitment to sustaining ADRCs and OC.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier