Recently, President Obama signed the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016. This is a cause for celebration! The Older Americans Act (OAA) is what funds all of the Area Agencies on Aging nationwide. Last July, the President called on Congress to reauthorize this important legislation as part of his remarks at the White House Conference on Aging. The Act went reauthorized for four years, putting critical programs in jeopdardy.
The OAA began as part of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” in 1965. That year, Congress enacted the OAA, which established the U.S. Administration on Aging and state agencies on aging to address the social needs of older people. The Act is considered the major vehicle for promoting the delivery of social programs to the aging population. Its mission is broad: “to help older people maintain and maximum independence in their homes and communities and to promote a continuum of care for the vulnerable elderly”.
The OAA funds critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent. According to Assistant Secretary on Aging Kathy Greenlee: “In a few short years, more that 77 million people will be over the age of 60, and more 34 million people, mostly family and friends, will be supporting a loved one who is over 60. These numbers will continue to grow over the next several decades.”
Thank you to President Obama, the Senate, and the House for finally getting the Act reauthorized. The Older Americans Act is the reason WHY the Aging Network exists today. Carrying forward the original principles of the Act is WHAT the Aging Network is here to do.