The Older Americans Act (OAA) authorization has been expired for the last four years. The services and programs that are receiving funding under the Act are in desperate need of increased resources to fund the nearly 12 million older adults in this country that wish to remain in their homes and local communities. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the OAA, LeadingAge has asked its members and supporters of Older Americans Month to contact their elected officials and ask that they fund, renew and protect OAA services.
LeadingAge has provided the following message that can be delivered to lawmakers:
“The Older Americans Act is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As a constituent, I urge Senator/Representative_____ to fund, renew, and protect the Older Americans Act by restoring appropriations to at least the fiscal year 2010 levels, passing a bipartisan reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, and removing the continued threat of across-the-board sequestration cuts. Thank you for your consideration.”
Looking for more ways to get involved? Visit the LeadingAge Advocacy website page.
Today, President Barack Obama proclaimed May 2014 as Older Americans Month and so it seems timely to take a look at where reauthorization of the Older Americans Act of 1965 stands. Although there isn’t visible progress on proposed legislation on the hill these days, it is encouraging to see certain policymakers take up the cause for Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. Last year, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S.1562) was introduced in the Senate to address the fact that authorization ended in 2011 and critical funding for the Act’s programs are in jeopardy.
On February 28th of this year, H.R. 4122 was introduced in the House of Representatives as a bill “to reauthorize the Older Americans Act of 1965, and for other purposes.” The bill was introduced by Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) with Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA). What makes this bill unique is that it goes further than simply reauthorizing the Older American Act by including other provisions to protect the health and well-being of older adults.
According to Peter Notarstefano at Leading Age, some of these provisions include:
– Creation of Federal Database to address Elder Abuse and Neglect
– New standards for screening and assessment at OAA Nutrition Programs
– Plans to modernize community senior centers
– Increased service availability for person-centered transportation
– Improved resource access for LGBT Older Adults
In addition to H.R. 4122, a bill to simply reauthorize the Older Americans Act (H.R. 3850), was introduced on January 10, 2014 by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and cosponsors, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).
This month, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Older Americans Month, THE GREEN HOUSE® Project participated in the Healthy Aging Forum put on by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. We were joined by congressional representatives, leaders in the aging field and elder advocates, all of whom demonstrated their passion and dedication to serving older adults by discussing policy frameworks and strategies that result in robust aging services for all.
We must not lose the momentum gained from this event! A national discussion on relevant aging issues, policy strategies and effective care delivery is necessary. Recently, in an article from the National Academy of Social Insurance, Anne Montgomery provides a call to action in order to gain support for a proposed White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) for 2015. Included in her article is a Letter to the President, signed by 40+ organizations, which explains that now is a critical time for such a conference since, “…By 2015, twelve million baby boomers will have already turned 65 with sixty-six million more to follow.” If the proposal were to be supported, this would be “…the sixth White House Conference in history and the second of the 21st century.”
In order to ensure that core values such as meaningful life, real home, and empowered staff are a non-negotiable part of long-term services and supports, we need to participate in events like the Healthy Aging Forum and the proposed White House Conference on Aging.
Join us in Unleashing the Power of Age for Older Americans Month by reading the article in support of the 2015 WHCOA and by telling friends and colleagues why we need this national forum.