The Hill: Why the Older Americans Act matters to citizens of all ages
By Larry Minnix, president and CEO of LeadingAge
May was Older Americans Month, a time when many in the U.S. celebrate the contributions that older Americans continue to make in our communities. Though the month has come to a close, we turn our attention to important legislation that has a profound effect on our country’s older population.
As people age, they want to remain in their own homes and their own towns and cities for as long as possible, even as they come to need help with basic needs like transportation and nutrition. For the last 50 years, a largely unrecognized law, the Older Americans Act, has provided essential programs and services for our most vulnerable seniors. From preventing and detecting elder abuse to providing home and community-based services, seniors need access to these resources to continue living independently.
For what amounts to spare change in the overall federal budget, the Older Americans Act provides amazing value to this nation’s older adults. And yet, for the last four years, it has been without statutory authorization and its funding has stagnated in the face of increasing demands for the services it provides.